A Data Center Architecture Hack, Inspired by and Encompassing the Open Compute Project

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

When I first heard the term “hacking” from folks at the Open Compute Project (OCP), I was a little confused – what does that mean, “hacking”? Is it some play on cybersecurity or stealing passwords or bank information? Nope, it’s geekspeak for a new data center architecture pioneered by Facebook and updated through the (OCP).

It makes sense when you consider that, before it ever got wrapped up in cyber security, the term “hacking” simply referred to skillful computer programming. To hack a program was to somehow make it better.

That’s exactly what Facebook and the OCP have done with data centers. OCP is one of the most interesting developments in data center architecture – well, ever. But will it have a revolutionary impact on data center design? Can it offer the claimed simplicity and cost saving benefits? Can it or will it ever become more mainstream? These are some of the questions answered by my boss Kevin Brown, the Senior Vice President of Schneider Electric’s data center solutions, during a presentation at the Open Compute Summit this year.

The OCP architecture is not compatible with traditional EIA 19” components. So don’t try and put that standard sized server in an Open Compute Rack and that Open Compute server certainly will not fit in a standard 19” rack. However, most data centers will have a mix of OCP and traditional components. Kevin’s presentation discusses what we call a “simplified architecture” that addresses just such a mix. Kevin explains how to design an upstream power infrastructure supporting OCP and traditional loads and still achieve Tier 3 redundancy. He goes through detailed cost analysis of each and presents tools that you can use yourself.

Schneider Electric embraces the spirit of OCP by openly sharing this executive presentation full of analysis and making the tools referenced in this presentation freely available. I hope you find it interesting and educational.

Althernatively, if you are looking for our latest whitepaper on the analysis of data center architectures supporting the Open Compute Project, you can read more here.

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