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Open hardware coming for the ‘new’ data center

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 03/15/2019
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

Your customers’ data centers are changing, and fast.

Many organizations are placing a new emphasis on being data-centric. For this job, yesterday’s homogenous IT infrastructures no longer fit the bill. What’s needed instead is a new approach, one that’s optimized for workloads.

This change is part of what led to the creation in 2011 of the Open Compute Project. OCP describes itself as a “collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware to efficient support the growing demands of compute infrastructure.” In plainer English, that means it supports the open-hardware ecosystem.

OPC logo

OCP this week is holding its big global summit in San Jose, Calif. There, an estimated 3,400 attendees are being treated to presentations on such arcane but important topics as “multi-actuator HDD deployment” and “modeling immersion cooling.”

Intel inside

Among the keynote speakers was Jason Waxman, Intel’s corporate VP of the data center group. He delivered a keynote yesterday on workload optimization. Intel is a founding member of OCP and now one of its Platinum sponsors.

Also at the OCP Global Summit, Intel announced 4 open-hardware advancements:

> A cloud-optimized 4-socket reference design for the next generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors. This will increase the core count to 112 in a single 2U platform, add memory bandwidth, and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by double digits, Intel says.

> Cooper Lake with Facebook: Intel revealed that it’s collaborating with Facebook on Cooper Lake, the codename for a forthcoming 14nm Intel Xeon processor. One new feature of Cooper Lake will be Bfloat 16, a 16-bit floating-point representation for deep-learning training.

> Rack scale design refresh: Intel announced it will contribute its RSD 2.3 Rack Management Module code, in development for more than a year, to OCP’s new OpenRMC community, which seeks to redefine the data-center rack.

> New NICs: Intel announced plans to release a complete family of network interface controllers (NICs) that are OCP-compliant. These devices will range from 1 GbE to 100 GbE, and shipments will begin in this year’s third quarter.

Your customers’ data centers are changing. As these announcements show, Intel and other members of the open-hardware ecosystem are changing, too.


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