The Open Compute Foundation has appointed CircleB from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as its first OCP (Open Computer Project) Solution Provider. CircleB is in good company as other OCP Solution Providers include Wiwynn, HPE, Inspur, Quanta Cloud Technology, Lenovo, and others.
Revenue generated from OCP equipment reached $1.2 billion in 2017, according to a recent market research publication by IHS Markit. For the coming years, the researchers anticipate an average growth in the European market of 70% per year. The Solution Providers appointed to form a special group of companies within the Open Compute ecosystem. They develop, test, deliver and support ready-made systems and environments based on OCP designs.
“An OCP Solution Provider ensures that data centers, telcos and IT departments that do not have their own R&D or DevOps department can still benefit from the advantages that OCP designs have to offer,” said John Laban, European representative of Open Compute. “An OCP Solution Provider such as CircleB has the technical knowledge to make sure that an OCP design or a product based on an OCP design properly integrates into a company’s IT infrastructure.”
European Strategy OCP
The OCP Solution Provider program is part of a much broader strategy of the Open Compute Foundation in Europe. “Europe is a very important market for OCP in terms of data centers and telecom providers,” said Steve Helvie, Vice President Channel Development of OCP. “That is why we invest a lot of time and energy in developing the OCP ecosystem in Europe. We work closely with companies that are able to support large IT organizations in exploring the opportunities offered by OCP. We also strive for a broad and varied group of partners in Europe who can help with, for example, training employees or providing support.”
Founded in 2011 by Facebook, Intel, and Rackspace, the Open Compute Foundation’s goal is to apply open source principles to hardware intended for use in data centers and telecommunication facilities. OCP members can publish their own hardware designs via Open Compute. Other participants are allowed to use these designs for building and marketing their own products, while they’re also allowed to develop these designs further. This way, the Open Compute Foundation plans to achieve faster innovation in the field of OCP-based IT hardware development.
Many of the OCP designs made available come from ‘hyperscale’ companies such as Facebook and Microsoft. They have built very large data centers that use many hundreds of thousands of servers. The in-house development of hardware would offer these companies major technical and financial advantages. Think of lower energy consumption per individual server, or a drastically simplified systems management allowing one administrator to manage a factor of 100 or 1,000 more servers compared to a traditional data center design.
While we do not have any data centers in Europe with the scale of Facebook’s and Google’s data centers in the US, many European companies and government agencies would also be able to achieve significant benefits by using OCP-based equipment. Think of telecom providers, banks and others stated the Open Compute Foundation.
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Data Center Size
The size of the data center is not that important in this respect, said Menno Kortekaas, Chief Technology Officer of CircleB. “In server rooms where 10 or 20 racks are installed, OCP already offers interesting financial advantages,” said Mr. Kortekaas. “Working with OCP hardware is very attractive for European companies and government organizations as well.”
It would require a relatively large amount of technical knowledge though to start working with OCP designs. Even if a hardware manufacturer has already developed and produced a product based on such a design.
“A design by Facebook, for example, for – say – an open source switch has of course been set up with their own network infrastructure in mind,” said Kortekaas. “In order to be able to apply such a design in the data center of a European bank or a telco, more is needed than just a hardware product. Often some extra work is required to change the firmware, for example. Or there is no web interface for the management software present, simply because Facebook doesn’t need such an interface. Business organizations often state in their purchasing terms that they only buy ready-made products. It is therefore important that an OCP Solution Provider helps to make the product ready-to-use in the data center environment of such a company.”