This is not Microsoft’s first contribution to open source projects. The company has contributed multiple technologies surrounding Azure, specifically data center designs and software-defined networking (SDN) technology the cloud platform relies on.
Microsoft has also used OCP hardware in its own data centers, with over 90 percent of its servers based on OCP contributed specs. So there is no surprise why it’s teaming with the OCP on this open source hardware initiative that it is calling Project Olympus.
Other than touting that it will be implementing the cloud hardware in its own data centers, Microsoft claims that the current stage of open source hardware initiatives limits interactive engagements and ultimately slows down delivery of products.
With Project Olympus, Microsoft is trying to enable a common hardware cloud design to ease cloud deployments. It can also be modified for specific product offerings just like the OCP community would do with open source software.
So far, Project Olympus consists of a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply with included batteries, 1U/2U server chassis, a high-density storage expansion, a universal rack power distribution unit (PDU) for data center interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card. Each of these building blocks can be tweaked or used independently for specific users’ data center configurations.
Significantly, Microsoft’s contributions are incomplete, as Kushagra Vaid, general manager of Azure hardware, notes in a Microsoft blog entry. “By sharing designs that are actively in development, Project Olympus will allow the community to contribute to the ecosystem by downloading, modifying, and forking the hardware design just like open source software,” he writes.
Microsoft has already released the server chassis interfaces and the motherboard to the OCP community and plans to open source the rack system in the next few weeks as well.
The company plans to share more about the open source project during its keynote at Zettastructure in London, the European digital infrastructure summit hosted by Datacenter Dynamics.