Recently, the Open Compute Project (OCP) Foundation celebrated its first decade at the third OCP China Day 2021, hosted by Inspur Information, with nearly a thousand engineers and data center professionals in attendance. As one of the major innovation drivers of data centers of tomorrow, open compute uses innovative global collaboration to solve some of the biggest challenges surrounding the development of sustainable data center infrastructure –energy consumption, high-speed network communication, intelligent operation and maintenance, and circular utilization.
Using the theme of “Open Compute for a New Decade: Decarbonization, Efficiency, Application”，OCP China Day 2021 hosted technology experts from 23 leading technology companies, such as Alibaba, Baidu, Enflame, Intel, Inspur, Seagate and Western Digital. The companies delivered over 50 presentations and shared their innovative achievements of data center infrastructure in the past decade, exploration and application in artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing and other emerging technologies and their application in telecommunication and financial sectors.
The Open Computing White Paper Released
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Open Compute Project, Inspur Information joined with Omdia, a world-renowned market research organization, to release the Open Computing White Paper at the summit. According to the white paper, open compute is a brand-new industrial collaboration mode that is most often deployed through three major open compute organizations – OCP, Open Data Center Committee (ODCC) and Open19 – where participants can share products, specifications and IPs of IT infrastructure, and speed the adoption of innovative data center technologies.
As the ecosystem evolves, the open infrastructure is expected to see an increasingly larger market share, with open compute being one of the core drivers of IT infrastructure innovation. Omdia predicts that, 40% of servers worldwide will be based on open standards by 2025. In the meantime, rack server, as the core project of open compute, is expected to be the mainstream form of computing infrastructure of data centers in near-term.
The white paper also shows that consensus is reached through open collaboration by open compute, promoting standardization, ecologicalization and other effective measures to accelerate adoption of innovative technologies. For instance, with edge computing, OCP and ODCC respectively set up project teams of Open Edge and Open Telcom IT Infrastructure (OTII) to facilitate the integration of server and telecommunication specifications.
Similarly with AI, the OCP Accelerator Module (OAM) project launched by OCP helps standardize accelerator modules, simplifies AI infrastructure design, shortens the R&D period of AI co-processing and accelerates the industrialization of design and products by innovative chip companies. Liu Jun, Vice President of Inspur Information, said: “The golden age of system structures driven by AI is almost upon us. Multiple AI chips provide diversified computing capabilities for different requirements and opportunities for chips to be used for multiple purposes. Thanks to the efforts of the wider community, open compute bolsters the diversified computing integration with open standards, tapping into the potential of AI innovation.”
OCP in the Past Decade: Achieve Double Success in Ecosystem and Technology, Break the Boundary with Collaboration
Founded in 2011, the OCP Foundation was the first open compute organization and over the past decade has ushered successes in both ecosystems and technology.
Over the past ten years, the OCP Foundation has grown from an organization created by a few enterprises, into the world’s largest open compute community, boasting over 250 members, around 5000 engineers and more than 16,000 participants. From the early days of global open compute, the OCP has been continuously developing while attracting leading member companies from around the world including Alibaba, ARM, Baidu, Facebook, Google, HPE, Intel, Inspur, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Tencent, and others. The OCP has gradually evolved into an industrial ecosystem that supports the standardization of data centers and assist with product development.
Innovative technologies empowered by the OCP can be seen everywhere in data centers, which consistently boosts the construction of green and efficient entities. For instance, the coming Open Rack 3.0 is greatly improved in storage space, loads, power supply and liquid cooling, helping data centers carry out different AI working loads in a larger scale. With regards to high-speed network communication, OCP Mezz (NIC) has been the standard of IO. In addition, the latest NIC 3.0 technical specification is equipped with new features of hot swap and PCIe Gen5, meeting the storage space requirements of high-density deployment by various applications of high-density computing. Meanwhile, OCP is breaking the boundaries of data center infrastructure by extending to heterogeneous computing and edge computing. Currently, OCP has built 23 technology projects in nine different categories, including server, network, storage, hardware management, rack and power, AI, and edge computing.
Steve Helvie, Vice President of Channel Development at OCP, stated: “OCP has achieved incredible success in the past decade, and made remarkable development and progress in the size of community, categories of members, and improvement in the supply chain, serving as one of the most influential open-source communities in the globe. But its most surprising achievement is the changing mindset of suppliers, moving from development behind closed doors to a collaborative and open source approach. The move has eliminated technological barriers to create a new global collaboration mode that addresses global issues like carbon emission and circular economy.
Open Compute for a New Decade: Decarbonization, Efficiency, Adoption
Derived from “carbon emission,” environmental issues like “peak carbon dioxide emissions”, “carbon neutrality” and “dual carbon goals” have been the top priority of all governments and societies. How data centers can become more environment-friendly and efficient for the next generation tops the discussion at the summit.
Rebecca Weekly, Chairperson of OCP and Vice President, General Manager, and Senior Principal Engineer of Hyperscale Strategy and Execution at Intel Corporation, said: “The future of computing is going to be very interesting, as our world is becoming more heterogeneous and desegregated. A large part of computing is being consumed by ICT and cloud services and telecommunications companies consume over 10% of the world electricity for their computing needs. Therefore, we need to cooperate to address the increasingly complicated and large global computing consumption and environment issues.”
Dr. Zhang Weifeng, Chief Scientist of Heterogeneous Computing at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Infrastructure said that, “In the past decade, we witnessed the exponential growth of computing requirements from data centers. The future challenges for open compute lie in the way to construct a scalable and sustainable infrastructure to satisfy the ever-growing computing demands, so the compute with low power consumption and high efficiency will be a new driver. In the end, energy conservation will help reduce carbon emission, which is in line with the goal of carbon neutrality for most countries in the next two or three decades.”
Compared with traditional designs, open compute enjoys great advantages in lowering power consumption and operation costs. For example, the rack server by Facebook is able to reduce 45% capital expenditure and 24% operation cost while improving energy efficiency by 38%. In ODCC, Baidu saw an enormous increase in energy efficiency and lowered its total cost of ownership (TCO) by 10% when adopting its Scorpio Rack Server. The power usage effectiveness (PUE) of all data centers built and operated by Baidu is no more than 1.3, and the annual average PUE of the latest completed data centers around 1.2.
According to Liu Jun, VP, GM of AI &HPC of Inspur Information, the goal of OCP is in line with China’s development goal of future data centers. At present, China requests the PUE lower than 1.3 for the coming large data centers, and proposes higher technical requirements for green energy conservation, such as high-density integrated IT equipment with high efficiency, efficient cooling system (liquid cooling available) and efficient power supply system (high-voltage direct current available). These new designs enjoy the same significance with OCP innovation projects, mapping a clear path for open compute in the next decade.
Meanwhile, as global telecommunication operators quickly accept open hardware, open software and desegregation, open compute will make further headway into other sectors – financial services, the public sector, traditional medical institutions, etc – over the next decade. As attitudes of users from traditional sectors change and they embrace open-source hardware major transformations in open compute can be expected in the next decade.
Jean-Marie Verdun, Senior Strategist Open Platform at HPE said “The next decade will be as innovative as the last one. OCP never ceases to make iterations for meeting user requirements at ultra-large-scale data centers, and high-end users have adopted computing technologies widely. However, those high-end users are not the only players in the market. Industry users and small- and medium-sized enterprises should also be able to access deep innovation and achieve a sustainable technology developments. Although these users may not have the scale of larger companies, they can also enjoy the benefits of open compute infrastructure.”
Already, telecommunication, finance, gaming, e-commerce, medical, automotive manufacturing and other industries are looking to deploy IT infrastructure in line with open compute standards. As Omdia predicts, non-internet industries will make up 21.9% of the market by 2025, compared with 10.5% in 2020.
Gong Huiqin, Senior Manager of Basic Technology Laboratory at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) mentioned, under the goals of “Carbon neutrality” ,“Peak carbon dioxide emissions”and current operation and maintenance pressure, the future banking data centers will be able to embrace operation and maintenance featuring safety and reliability, green and energy conservation and convenience through open compute integrated with liquid cooling, separation of storage and computing and automatic operation and maintenance.
The past decade has seen a growing number of companies embracing open compute, which can be attributed to not only the unique technical advantages of open compute, but also ingenious design philosophy. As the open compute ecosystem improves and develops daily, the innovation boundary will be broken, and technological integrations exceed expectations. Technology reform, driven by open compute, might build the next-generation data centers beyond our imagination.
To download Open Computing White Paper, please click here.