An expanded role for Cole Crawford

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 · Posted by at 9:27 AM

I have some exciting news to share: On behalf of my fellow board members, I'm pleased to announce that Cole Crawford has been promoted to executive director of the Open Compute Foundation.

Cole joined us a little less than a year ago as the foundation's first full-time employee. Since then, many of you have gotten to know Cole and have been exposed to his talent for building communities and his passion for pursuing the vision behind Open Compute.

Since Cole joined, we've launched a new Compliance & Interoperability project; formed new chapters in Tokyo and Taiwan; kicked off a series of engineering workshops (the most recent of which was held last week in New York); and seen impressive momentum in adding new members, new participants, and new technology contributions to the project.

As executive director, Cole will continue to expand his efforts, with a specific focus on further operationalizing the foundation, growing our full-time staff, and building up even more momentum in technology contributions and project participation.

Please join me in congratulating Cole on his new role!

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Just six months ago, we announced our intention to expand the charter of the Open Compute Project to include networking hardware.

At the time, it was our hope that we could build on the momentum we'd established in opening up server, storage, and datacenter designs and collaborate with the broader community on the development of an open, OS-agnostic top-of-rack switch. Such a switch, we believed, would enable a faster pace of innovation in the development of networking hardware; help software-defined networking continue to evolve and flourish; and ultimately provide consumers of these technologies with the freedom they need to build infrastructures that are flexible, scalable, and efficient across the entire stack.

Our progress so far has exceeded even our lofty expectations -- hundreds of people are actively collaborating on the development of more than 30 potential contributions, covering most of the network hardware stack and even some of the network software stack.

We'd like to highlight four contributions in particular, all of them currently being considered by the OCP Incubation Committee and likely to be accepted soon.

Broadcom was the first to develop a full specification for and implementation of an open switch. Here's how they describe it:

"Broadcom has developed an Open Network Switch specification, addressing popular leaf and spine switch configurations and feature requirements, in compliance with the charter defined by the OCP networking initiative. The specification delivers the foundation for efficient, high performance, and flexible network architectures, complementing the goals of the OCP networking initiatives. Our network switch specification is based on the widely deployed Trident switch architecture, which supports a wide ecosystem of networking operating systems and applications. The specification utilizes the latest in the Trident family, the Trident II, bringing the most advanced and comprehensive feature set into the open switch ecosystem. We have been successful in delivering the first version of the specification and working switch systems from our hardware partner that complies with the specification -- all in less than six months. We believe this specification will enable faster innovation in the market and more choice for data center operators and telecom service providers. " 

Cumulus Networks has proposed its Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software as a contribution to OCP:

"ONIE, which was introduced by Cumulus Networks and is supported by networking OEM, ODM, and communication silicon vendors across the globe, is an industry standard network boot loader to install software on network switches, thus enabling a bare metal Ethernet switch ecosystem. ONIE defines a runtime install environment that supports multiple network operating system vendors at scale that -- for the first time -- effectively provides customers more control and the ability to choose when it comes to their networking hardware and software. ONIE's open install environment can be supported on a range of existing ODM switches, as well as the open network switch design specifications being developed by the Open Compute Project, ultimately enabling end users to select among different network operating systems and a variety of compatible hardware."

Intel has also developed a specification for an open switch, and they describe it as follows:

"Intel’s proposed contribution to the Open Compute Project network working group is a specification for a bare-metal, top-of-rack switch. The specification describes a 48x4 10/40G switch including all necessary subsystems for switching, control CPU, peripherals, external interfaces, power, cooling, and mechanical enclosure. An example of a switch that adheres to this specification, based on Intel parts, can be found here. Platforms based on this spec enable more choice, improved flexibility, and a better cost structure for customers who choose to implement a software defined approach for networking and switching. To complement the proposed contribution to the OCP working group, Intel brings an ecosystem of partners ready to supply production level systems with a variety of solution capabilities."

Finally, Mellanox is the third company to have developed a specification for an open switch. Here's their description:

"Mellanox is expanding its Open Compute Project portfolio offering with the proposed contribution of its SwitchX-2 x86-based top-of-rack switch specification. The switch supports 48 SFP+ ports and 12 QSFP ports, enabling non-blocking connectivity within the OCP Open Rack, or alternatively, enabling 60 10GbE server ports when using QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cables to increase rack efficiency for less bandwidth demanding applications. The new switch will be the first to enable ONIE over x86, and we expect it to dramatically improve power consumption, latency, and density and enable larger, more efficient, and more cost-effective datacenter designs."

Taken together, these contributions are tremendous steps forward toward our vision of a truly disaggregated network stack. They are also vivid proof of the OCP community's ability to work together, in the open, to develop innovative new technologies -- and to do so at an almost unheard-of pace.

We will continue our work on these technologies and others later this week, at the OCP engineering workshop being held at University of Texas at San Antonio. We hope to see you there!

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It's been a year since we last came together, and our momentum continues to build. Our community now numbers in the thousands -- more than 3,400 people registered for the fifth Open Compute Summit, which is now in progress in San Jose -- and we have more than 150 official members, including new partners like Bloomberg, Box, Cumulus Networks, IBM, IO, LSI, Microsoft, and Yandex. We are also growing rapidly outside North America, with OCP Japan and OCP Taiwan bringing together dozens of new members in its first year as a chapter, and new chapters beginning to form in Europe, Korea, Philippines, and Australia / New Zealand. 

We've accomplished a lot in the last year: We expanded the foundation staff, welcoming Amber Graner as community manager and Hugh Blemings as director of certification. We held engineering workshops every six weeks, bringing together thousands of participants from around the world to advance the work of each of our projects. And we launched a new project in 2013: networking. Our aim with this new project was to begin to open up the network hardware stack with the development of an open, OS-agnostic switch. This was a new challenge for us -- typically our projects have been formed around existing contributions -- but we delivered, and we did it quickly: After just six months, we unveiled the first set of contributions in the project, from Broadcom, Cumulus Networks, Intel, and Mellanox.

The pace of innovation in the industry has also continued to accelerate, and in the past year we've seen a wealth of OCP-inspired technology advancements and contributions from across the community. Here are just a few examples: 

  • AMD: Today at the summit, AMD showcased a development platform for its first 64-bit ARM-based server CPU and contributed a new microserver design to OCP that is compatible with the common-slot architecture specification dubbed “Group Hug.”

  • Facebook: Facebook has contributed its new "Honey Badger" microserver adapter to OCP, and today at the summit they showcased their new rapid deployment datacenter concepts and their new optical storage prototype. Facebook also shared that OCP and related efficiency efforts have helped the company save more than $1.2 billion in infrastructure costs over the last three years.

  • Fidelity: Fidelity has contributed the designs for its "Open Bridge Rack," which enables the deployment of OCP storage and server designs in legacy 19" racks. 

  • Hyve: Hyve has contributed the designs for its 1500 Series server designs, which are also designed to fit into legacy 19" racks.

  • IO: Also today, IO announced a new containerized data center solution that employs OpenStack and Open Compute Project hardware. IO already has several customers for this new service, including Merck.

  • Microsoft: Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it has joined the Open Compute Project and is contributing designs for the servers that power global cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, and Bing.   

  • LSI: LSI announced that it has joined the Open Compute Project, and they immediately contributed two designs: a 12G SAS expander upgrade to the Open Vault storage system and a flash storage card that provides low-latency flash storage to server-based applications. 

  • Seagate: Seagate has contributed its Kinetic open storage platform, which is designed to prevent scale bottlenecks in storage.

  • Quanta: Quanta has contributed the entire line of Open Rack-compatible products they co-developed with Rackspace. 

As impressive as all of this is, some of the work I'm most proud of from the past year has been in our efforts to make it easier for people to collaborate on the development of new OCP technologies, contribute those technologies to the OCP Foundation, and consume them in whatever combination best fits their needs:

  • Supporting the OCP Solution Provider ecosystem: We've seen a lot of growth here in the last year, and there are now seven official OCP Solution Providers: AMAX, Avnet, CTC, Hyve, Penguin Computing, Quanta, and Racklive. These companies provide new options for consumers who want to deploy OCP designs, and new routes to market for innovative new technologies. All these companies are making big investments in OCP, building labs of their own and contributing the designs for the OCP products they develop for customers back to the foundation.

  • New certification process: We've developed a rigorous compliance and interoperability process, with two levels of certification: "OCP Ready" and "OCP Certified." These certifications will provide consumers with assurance that the products with these labels have been thoroughly tested and meet the standards set by the OCP community. Two new labs have been established -- UTSA and ITRI -- to manage the certification process. Wiwynn was the first company to successfully achieve OCP certification for one of their products, Quanta quickly followed. 

  • New OCP hardware license: Since our inception a little more than two years ago, we've used a relatively "permissive" license (modeled on Apache) to govern contributions. Soon we will roll out a second, more "prescriptive" license (modeled on GPL) that will require anyone who modifies an original design and then sells that design to contribute the modified version back to the foundation. It's our hope that having multiple licensing options will lead to even more OCP technology contributions.

Looking at all this progress and forward momentum, I can't help but think that 2014 is our year. New technologies are being developed and contributed; new products and new businesses are being launched; and new OCP technologies are being adopted. We are reinventing this industry together, in the open, and everyone has a chance to contribute — to help ensure that all the technologies we develop and consume are as scalable as possible, as efficient as possible, and as innovative as possible.

Thanks to all of your hard work, the future is open. So let's keep going!



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I have some exciting news to share: The Open Compute Project Foundation board has voted to expand to include two new members. Bill Laing, Corporate Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, and Jason Taylor, Director of Infrastructure at Facebook, have joined the board effective immediately. I recently left Facebook to pursue a new OCP-related startup opportunity, and will remain on the board as an independent. The board has also voted to retain me as the president and chairman of the foundation.

The Open Compute Project continues to gain momentum, and Bill and Jason will be great additions to the community's leadership. Together we will continue to accelerate the pace of innovation in this industry and to make datacenter technologies more open, more efficient, and more sustainable.Expanding the OCP Foundation Board

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The Open Compute Foundation Welcomes Corey Bell as CEO

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 · Posted by at 12:05 PM

The Foundation has built a large community invested in disrupting the data center with membership numbers more than doubling year-over-year.  In the last few years, that community has continued to thrive under Cole’s leadership and has become a strong network of talented individuals sharing their work. As 2014 comes to a close, we are reflecting on the past and planning ahead for a successful 2015. With the community growth and high demand for OCP products, we’re focused on tackling the next challenge – increasing adoption.

The products coming out of the foundation have an incredible impact on businesses of all sizes. For example, Riot Games estimates that moving to OCP gear cut their costs by fifty percent in comparison to its previous solution and is planning to have its entire infrastructure OCP-designed in two years’ time. We have an obligation to make sure access to OCP gear is fast and the technology is easy to consume so that businesses of all types and sizes are able to benefit from the community’s contributions.

That’s why, I’m happy to announce that Corey Bell will be joining our team as chief executive officer to help us lead the foundation into this next phase of adoption. This is a huge effort that we’re tackling for the community this year and Corey is perfect for the job. He’s a natural leader who will focus on making all products that we are submitting easy to consume. He’s in good company as a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about the data center space and driven by the enthusiasm to transform an industry. Corey’s leadership, coupled with Cole’s expertise for building ecosystems, will further enhance our efforts to completely disrupt the data center. We have a great team that will lead us into the next phase of OCP growth in 2015.

We’re thrilled to have Corey on board. Here’s to a great New Year!

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Big News on Day One of OCP Summit

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 · Posted by at 9:22 AM

Today, we kicked off the first day of the Open Compute Project U.S. Summit 2015. Nearly 3,000 people gathered to openly share and learn about the technologies that are redefining the data center and moving our industry forward. Thanks to all who attended and to all those who tuned in via the livestream.

I'm happy to say that the OCP community's influence has gained a lot of momentum in the past year, with new contributions and membership from companies like HP, Dell, Cisco, Apple and Microsoft. We have nearly 200 companies now participating in the project, and every day new technologies are being developed and contributed.

We have passed the tipping point where OCP gear is no longer an experiment. Major companies and vendors have pivoted from proprietary interests and are working together to bring open datacenter technologies to market. We saw the open source model work for software, and now we know it can be done with hardware. Companies can openly collaborate and come out ahead. There is still work to be done in enabling adoption, but the momentum we've built on community and technology is undeniable. Thank you for making this another special Open Compute Project Summit.

A recap of exciting partner news announced today is below. Be sure to tune in to the live stream tomorrow to check out more talks from leaders at Facebook, Intel, HP, Hyve, Microsoft and other top companies.


Facebook announced “Yosemite” and “Mono Lake,” a proposed contribution for its first system-on-a-chip compute server that supports independent 4 servers at a performance-per-watt superior to traditional datacenter servers for heavily parallelizable workloads. It is an ideal component for our disaggregated rack infrastructure. Additionally, Facebook proposed a contribution the spec for its top-of-rack network switch, “Wedge,” and announced “OpenBMC,” its open low-level board management software that enables flexibility and speed in feature development for BMC chips. Lastly, Facebook announced that it's opening its central library of “FBOSS,” the software behind Wedge.


Intel and Facebook collaborated for over 18 months on Yosemite, which uses a server card, Mono Lake, that is based on the new Intel Xeon processor D-1500 product family, the company’s first Xeon-based SoC. The Xeon D product family is the first Xeon line built on 14nm process technology and the third generation of Intel 64-bit SoCs for microservers, storage, network and the Internet of Things (IoT).  


HP announced today a new portfolio designed specifically for the needs of service providers to create differentiated services, increase speed and agility, and drive business growth. As part of this announcement, HP introduced HP Cloudline, a new family of compute platforms that enable service providers running hyperscale IT architectures to maximize data center efficiency and increase cloud service agility. With HP Cloudline, HP is further extending its open infrastructure vision from cloud and network switches to include servers. Open solutions accelerate innovation and provide service providers with the flexibility required for rapid growth.


Mellanox announced that the OpenOptics MSA is contributing the developed wavelength specifications to the Open Compute Project. The new specification enables data to be streamed at terabits per second over a single fiber and is part of Mellanox’s mission to drive a faster pace of innovation that focuses on energy efficiency and bandwidth scalability in data center technologies. Mellanox also announced Mellanox Multi-Host™, an innovative technology that provides high flexibility and major savings in building next generation, scalable Cloud, Web 2.0 and high-performance data centers.


Broadcom announced the availability of the Broadcom Open Network Switch Library (OpenNSL), a new software platform for Original Equipment Markers (OEMs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and network operators. OpenNSL is a software interface with a set of APIs that enable the development of new applications on top of Broadcom StrataXGS® switches, giving customers the flexibility to tailor their network equipment and meet their unique infrastructure requirements.


Cumulus Networks announced today that they contributed the “ACPI Platform Description” or APD to OCP as a new industry standard for networking hardware and operating system integration. They’ve extended ACPI, broadly used with servers and PCs, for use with bare metal switches.


Edge-Core (Accton’s subsidiary) announced today the Wedge-16X top-of-rack switch, which is the first commercial product implementation of the Wedge design that Facebook contributed to OCP. Accton also announced that it will open source through the Open Compute Project (OCP) two new data center switch designs— the industry’s first open design of a 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch to enable continued capacity growth of web-scale infrastructures, and a cost optimized 40GbE switch design for deployment of current open infrastructures based on 10GbE and 40GbE.


Hyve announced Open Rack v2, Leopard, Honey Badger and Wedge products. Datacenter customers can source the latest Open Compute Project server, storage and networking solutions direct from Hyve Solutions. Hyve also announced a partnership with Cavium, Inc. to bring 64-bit ARM-based volume server solutions to market via its AmbientSeries, addressing the hyper-scale cloud and data center market as well as the industry’s first dual-socket ARMv8 Open Compute platform.


NetBRIC joins OCP as the first contribution from China. NetBRIC aims to redefine the FLASH storage architecture of the big data, cloud computing era. 



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