July 27, 2021

Open Compute Project designs gain ground

03/13/2019, by Andy Patrizio, IDG NS (adapted by Jean Elyan), Infrastructure, 847 words

The sale of optimized hardware for hyperscale data centers based on the designs of the Open Compute Project is expected to reach $ 10 billion in revenue within three years.

The Open Compute Project (OCP) was launched 8 years ago by Facebook with the aim of designing for large hyperscale datacenters open source server hardware that is as energy efficient as possible. This promise of flexibility in hardware, software and designs with the key to improving energy efficiency quickly gained attention. Very quickly, Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, joined forces with Facebook to launch the OCP project, before being joined in 2014 by Microsoft. Up to now, the OCP project has progressed quietly and with no revenue forecast. But that data is now available: IHS Markit, a market research specialist in the supply chain field, investigated Facebook, Microsoft and Rackspace and founding partners, and took an interest in OPC hardware sales outside of the market. circle of these three actors.

In its preliminary results, IHS indicates that in 2017, sales of non-board members (Facebook / Microsoft / Rackspace) reached $ 1.16 billion, slightly lower than initial forecasts. estimates $ 1.18 billion. Also according to IHS, in 2018, outside this circle of members, revenue is expected to reach $ 2.56 billion, above the initial forecast of $ 1.84 billion, representing a growth of 120% from a anne on the other. According to IHS, in 2022, non-member revenue is expected to reach $ 10.7 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56%. Today, compared to the $ 127 billion in revenue posted in 2017 by the data center hardware market, the $ 2.56 billion in 2018 revenue is as valuable as a rounding error. But it is all the same a good result, given the minimal contribution of the four big manufacturers (Dell, HPE, Lenovo and Cisco).

Cost reduction, energy efficiency and flexibility sought

According to Cliff Grossner, executive director of cloud and data center research and analytics at IHS Markit, OCP hardware is produced by a variety of Taiwanese vendors, including vendors like Wiwynn, Quanta Computer, Edgecore Networks and Delta. But there are also non-Taiwanese vendors, such as Ericsson, who supply equipment for this sector. This does not mean that the big players are not interested in this market. Often the interest on the server side is not very high, said Grossner. But on the network side, Dell and HPE are releasing OCP-certified products, Cisco and others are already starting to use their silicon, and Mellanox has a good line of open source network switches. Primary customers are Tier 2 cloud service providers and non-hyperscale data center vendors, plus telecommunications operators, financial organizations, automakers, manufacturers, and government agencies. This year, Grossner said government purchases have exceeded those of the financial sector, and telecommunications operators are expected to surpass all others by 2022.

In a study also conducted last year by IHS, the top three incentives for customers are cost reduction, energy efficiency and flexibility in choosing desired functions. Customers can order specific models as long as the purchase volume is sufficient to justify the customization. However, Mr Grossner specifies that the size of the sample retained for the survey was not large enough, or that it was spread over a too short period, to allow a good evaluation of the OCP equipment compared to standard equipment. He also recalls that at the time, the subject was still anecdotal.

The use of OCP hardwares takes in companies

Customizations are often at the software level rather than the hardware level. For example, the London Internet Exchange (LINX) wanted to add deeper packet inspection functions to better understand when the flow might be a problem. The LINX could not do the same with closed network operating systems from other vendors. For large data center operators, software written to manage the hardware is often inefficient beyond a certain point and they are developing theirown software. The London Internet Exchange therefore did not need this functionality in its hardware.

The reason telecom operators care so much about OCP hardware is that they can quickly deploy new services. The Telcos want to automate their networks more and adapt them to automation, which OCP hardware allows, unlike the hard boxes of other suppliers, explained Mr Grossner. While hyperconverged infrastructure is very popular in some circles, others prefer disaggregated systems like OCP’s because they have access to the software. since everything is open source, they can see what’s in it, he added.

OCP and IHS Markit will publish the full results of this study at OCP’s annual World Summit, the Annual OCP Global Summit, to be held March 14-15 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California.