In January, Microsoft came out with initial server specifications, building on its experience running big-time data centers, as it joined the Open Compute Project. The idea was to share its experience running those big facilities with hardware makers so they could build the equipment Microsoft and potentially other big tech providers, needs to run infrastructure efficiently.
- A dual-processor design, built on Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 (‘Haswell’) CPUs, enabling 28 cores of compute power per blade, and reflecting Microsoft’s joint engineering collaboration with Intel to develop the next generation board
- Advanced networking for low latency, high bandwidth, highly-virtualized environments, based on 40-gigabit Ethernet networking, with support for routable RDMA over Converged Ethernet (ROCEv2).
- Flexibility incorporated into the core design itself. This allows the integration of a variety of components and add-on cards, including FPGA accelerators, which enables customers to tune their servers for their own unique workloads.
- Low-cost, high-bandwidth, Flash-based memory support, incorporating the latest form factor for m.2 Flash memory. This allows OCS v2-based servers to incorporate higher-capacity SSDs, while ensuring TCO optimization by virtue of using cost-optimized NAND.
- A compact, high-capacity power supply, capable of delivering 1600 watts of power, with a high holdup time of 20 milliseconds.
- Support for high memory configurations, along with flexibility in the amount of memory deployed, by virtue of support for 128GB, 192GB, and 256GB memory capacity configurations.
And, for the first time, [company]Microsoft[/company] listed an array of third-party hardware makers as backers including [company]Quanta QCT[/company], [company]Wiwynn[/company], [company]ZT Systems[/company] and [company]Intel[/company], [company]Mellanox[/company], [company]Seagate[/company], [company]Geist[/company] and[company] Hyve Solutions[/company].
The Open Compute Project, launched by Facebook in April 2011 and then moved into a multi-vendor foundation a few months later, aims to bring the goodness of open-source design into the realm of data center hardware. The goal is to boost energy efficiency and performance.
The effort was also a warning shot at traditional high-end hardware makers that massively scale out data centers needed something those vendors were not necessarily selling — cheap but reliable — and interchangeable — hardware. The bulk of the value would lie in the software programmability of that hardware.