Microsoft joins Open Compute Project

January 28, 2014 // 9:46 a.m.

Tags: #bill-laing #datacentre #data-centre #efficiency #facebook #github #microsoft #ocp #open-compute-project #windows #windows-server

Microsoft has announced that it is officially throwing its lot in with the Open Compute Project, making its cloud computing technologies available to all in order to boost efficiency.

Founded by Facebook as a means of encouraging cross-vendor support for improving the efficiency of its data centres, the Open Compute Project has already seen some major contributions from its various members. Early last year, AMD and Intel announced the Open 3.0 modular server design and a new silcon photonics interconnect respectively, publishing information on the technologies to the project's publicly-accessible GitHub page for all to view.

Now, Microsoft is joining the project, and brings an offering of its own to the table: hardware designs from its own data centres which power the Azure, Office 365 and Bing web-based services. 'The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the data centre servers we have designed to deliver the world’s most diverse portfolio of cloud services,' claimed Microsoft's Bill Laing, corporate vice president, of the move. 'They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 per cent server cost savings, 15 per cent power efficiency gains and 50 per cent reduction in deployment and service times. We also expect this server design to contribute to our environmental sustainability efforts by reducing network cabling by 1,100 miles and metal by 10,000 tons across our base of 1 million servers.'

By publishing the plans through the Open Compute Project, Microsoft allows anyone - including its competitors - to benefit from its engineering work and improve their own infrastructure, but it's not giving away the crown jewels: the company's designs are tailored specifically for Windows Server software, meaning anyone wanting to get up and running with the high-efficiency architecture as quickly as possible will be tied in to the company's proprietary software platform.

Details of Microsoft's contributions to the project are due to be published on the official website following the conclusion of the Open Compute Summit tomorrow.

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