Microsoft Brings Open Hardware Design To New Heights - Announcing Project Olympus

“Being a hero doesn’t mean you’re invincible. It just means that you’re brave enough to stand up and do what’s needed.”  ― Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena

Earlier today, Open Compute Project (OCP) Foundation board member and active Platinum Tiered member Microsoft announced Project Olympus.  This announcement ushers in a new way we in the OCP community will accelerate open hardware designs, innovation and implementation processes. And it’s exciting!

Project Olympus is Microsoft’s next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development.  The hardware focuses on modularity, cost and power efficiency, and global datacenter interoperability. The Project Olympus contribution to OCP will consist the following:

  • a new Universal motherboard
  • high availability power supply with included batteries
  • 1U/2U server chassis
  • high-density storage expansion
  • a new Universal rack power distribution unit for global datacenter interoperability
  • a standards compliant rack management card

Server Text for Blog

19in universal rack for blog

With Project Olympus, Microsoft will bring more choice and flexibility to adopters, suppliers and innovators by showcasing modularity of this contribution. The “building blocks” that make up this contribution can allow for adopters and suppliers to independently piece together these blocks to meet specific datacenter configurations and design needs.

“We believe Project Olympus is the most modular and flexible cloud hardware design in the datacenter industry, and will become the foundation for a broad ecosystem of compliant hardware products developed by the OCP community,” said Kushagra Vaid, OCP Incubation Committee member and General Manager, Azure Cloud Hardware Infrastructure, Microsoft Corp.

So what does this mean for the OCP community?

What we have learned since the inception of OCP is that each data center has unique parameters and constraints that drive differences in the ideal rack architecture.   And even though the data center drives differences in the rack, the ingredients, or building blocks, used to build the rack are the same.   Today, we have common switchgear being deployed in OCP Open Rack architecture and the industry standard 19” EIA architecture.   Project Olympus delivers new and additional building blocks that can be used in any rack architecture.

For those who have been active in the OCP Server Project, or who have been following our hardware contributions, then you are already familiar with Microsoft’s Open Cloud Server v1 and v2 contributions, and more than likely you’ve heard mention of ‘v-next’ at several of our OCP Engineering Workshops and our Technology Day.  Project Olympus is next evolution of Microsoft’s hyperscale open source hardware.   

Over the next few weeks we’ll be collaborating with Microsoft through the OCP Server Project group and utilize github to introduce the specifications and design files to the community. Since this isn’t just code, we’re actively building this process and trust that you in the community will help us improve this process of sharing not only the hardware and software specifications but the collateral files--Schematics, Board Files, Mechanical Assemblies--as well. Since Microsoft will now open and share their active development files at the “beta stage” when they are only about 50% complete this follows the ‘release early, release often” model we see in open source software. No other hardware contributor to OCP has released this early in the development cycle, and by doing so Microsoft is giving the community the ability to download, modify, and fork the hardware design just like open source software projects. This means we will begin to drive hardware innovation using the proven best practices and concepts of open source software, and you, the community, will build that future.

Over the next few weeks we will build out the repositories and start active collaboration through the OCP Server Project. If you’re interested in Project Olympus you can find out more at:

Want to find out more about the progress of not only Project Olympus but all of the projects at OCP? Then join us at our annual summit, which will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California on 8-9 March 2017.  Registration opens soon and you can find out more information at

Can’t wait until the Summit?  Then join us tomorrow at the OCP Engineering Workshop that is being co-located with Zettastructure: The European Digital Infrastructure Summit hosted by DataCenter Dynamics in London

About OCP

The Open Compute Project Foundation is a 501(c)(6) organization which was founded in 2011 by Facebook, Intel, Rackspace. Our mission is to apply the benefits of open source to hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in, near and around the data center and beyond.

Find out more about you can participate in the OCP Community at: