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Reflecting on the Open Compute Project Global Summit 2019

As demands for computing power grow worldwide, open computing isn’t just becoming more popular – it's become a necessity. According to Network World, sales of hardware built to Open Compute Project (OCP) designs topped $1.2 billion in 2017 – double the previous year – and are expected to reach $6 billion by 2021.

The OCP is a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology to support the growing demands on compute infrastructure. Each year, OCP hosts a global summit that brings together key decision makers, executives, engineers, developers and suppliers. At this year’s global summit, we shared our expertise designing and building in the open hardware ecosystem through multiple speaking engagements and our products in the Flex booth.

Below are some key take-aways from the summit, what the future holds for open computing and the role of Flex in OCP.

Growing the OCP ecosystem

OCP was started 10 years ago to create open architecture with the vision of driving down the cost of data center build outs. But hurdles, such as concern over sharing IP and the vetting process of technologies, slowed its progress. 

Today’s OCP is more inclusive to a broader range of data center providers, with more technologies being contributed and talked about. By creating the OCP inspired category, OCP allows organizations to share their ideas and designs but with less restrictions, particularly around IP disclosure.

We support this broader community through power, networking, IoT, edge, server storage in core telecom and a much-expanded set of technologies and portfolio products that benefit all participating companies.

Leading at the edge

The original OCP technologies centered around custom-built, greenfield data centers. But that focus is shifting. Companies building smaller data centers that can be placed virtually anywhere must consider the challenges that come along with them. For example, smaller centers at the edge don’t have the luxury of a larger data center’s cooling infrastructure and must rely on alternatives, like liquid cooling for servers.

Companies must also consider the serviceability of their edge data centers.  A simplistic design, like LinkedIn’s Open19™, is well-suited for such environments – making for easy installation, de-installation, swapping and repair. We were founding members of Open19 and continue to support its mission.

Companies trying to combine telecom and data center architecture at the edge are becoming more involved in OCP. OCP has developed subgroups around the edge for telecom, liquid cooling and other technologies.

Expanding OCP globally

The internet by its very nature connects people around the world. OCP presents more opportunity to collaborate and share technologies globally. As such, we continue to scale cloud investments across a broader community.

Significant global growth has occurred, with major spikes coming from both the U.S. and China. OCP leadership has aggressive plans to do more community summits in China and Europe, with a vision toward more global expansion.

Active participation in the OCP community helps accelerate new technologies globally. It also helps foster better global relations as we look at open access to data and information around the world.

Looking ahead for OCP and Flex

A successful open community naturally lowers barriers of entry for new competitors to participate. We embrace new members of the community and will continue to take a leadership role in impactful organizations like OCP.

OCP has seen a rise over the years in open communities in software, networking, telecom, data center and cloud services. Industry groups frequently collaborate within OCP to create new technologies – progressing the movement despite occasionally competing viewpoints.

As a leader in OCP, we create the most effective and efficient designs for manufacturing and distribution organizations. Our approach is to help and support all organizations in their missions by providing the best people and infrastructure in the industry.

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