Microsoft joins Open Compute Project to share cloud innovaton

Community to benefit from Microsoft's cloud server specification, including advanced server hardware designs

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 28 January 2014
Microsoft joins Open Compute Project to share cloud innovaton

Microsoft is to join the Open Compute Project (OCP), a community focused on engineering the most efficient hardware for cloud and high-scale computing via open collaboration.

The OCP will benefit from Microsoft’s cloud server specification, including the designs for the most advanced server hardware in Microsoft data centres, delivering global cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Bing and others.

“We are excited to participate in the OCP community and share our cloud innovation with the industry in order to foster more efficient data centres and the adoption of cloud computing,” said Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft in an official blog post.

Microsoft’s cloud server specification will provide the blueprints for the Microsoft-designed data centre servers, which will deliver a diverse portfolio of cloud services. These servers are optimised for Windows Server software and are large enough to handle the availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure.

“(The servers) offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40% server cost savings, 15% power efficiency gains and 50% reduction in deployment and service times,” said Laing. “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.”

Microsoft Open Technologies is open sourcing the software code created for management of hardware operations, such as server diagnostics, power supply and fan control. The company aims to build an open source software community within OCP.

“The specifications we’re contributing to OCP reflect our long history in data centre architecture and cloud computing,” writes Laing. “We started managing our own data centres in 1989, and delivered our first global online service, MSN, in 1995. We have invested more than US$15 billion in our cloud infrastructure and today provide more than 200 cloud services to 1 billion customers and 20 million businesses in more than 90 markets around the world. Simply put, we have learned a tremendous amount building and operating some of the world’s largest cloud services.”

The move aligns with Microsoft’s cloud operating system strategy, and will enable the company to take technology and best practices from its public cloud offerings and build them into its private cloud platform.

“It’s a virtuous cycle that enables a consistent hybrid cloud platform – a Cloud OS – spanning Windows Azure, partner clouds and customer data centres,” said Laing. “That consistency gives customers more flexibility to move and manage enterprise applications across clouds, and more choice in the IT models that best fit their needs and budgets.”

Laing will officially announce Microsoft’s joining of the OCP at a keynote address at the OCP Summit in San Jose, California, today.

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