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Microsoft Adds to Gen-2 Open Compute Project

Microsoft is contributing to the Open Compute Project's second-generation Open CloudService specification.

The Open Compute Project, started by Facebook engineers, aims to reduce cloud computing costs by sharing knowledge about optimal datacenter hardware configurations, as well as software APIs and protocols. The Open Compute Project's specifications can be used by cloud computing industry players or by enterprises running datacenters. Microsoft joined the project in January, contributing its Azure cloud server specifications.

Microsoft is now adding to version 2 of the Open CloudService design specification. It is showing off results achieved with its partners this week at the Open Compute Project's European Summit event. Microsoft's partners on the project are Quanta QCT, Wiwynn and ZT Systems.

The Open CloudService second-generation spec has three main design points, according to Kushagra Vaid, general manager of server engineering at Microsoft, in a blog post. First, it aims to support multiple cloud services. Microsoft has tested this design with its Windows Azure infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings over the last six months, Vaid said. Next, version 2 aims to be deployable across regions, including meeting regional electrical standards as well as regulatory and safety certifications. Third, the second-generation spec is designed to deliver performance plus total cost of ownership economies.

Vaid outlined some of the Open CloudService spec hardware design considerations that purportedly address those TCO cost considerations. Version 2 uses Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 "Haswell" CPUs, which are capable of supporting 28 cores per blade. It employs 40-gigabit Ethernet with "support for routable RDMA over Converged Ethernet." Also supported are high-capacity solid-state drives, a 1600-Watt power supply and high-memory configurations (up to 256GB).

Other hardware companies voicing support for the gen-2 Open CloudService spec include "Intel, Mellanox, Seagate, Geist and Hyve Solutions," according to Vaid.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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