OCP Incubation Committee Strategic Plan for 2021

The OCP Incubation Committee (IC) roles and responsibilities have been evolving these past few years. A previous post covered details around the strategic plan executed for 2019-2020. The following builds on  that discussion to highlight some of the ideas we plan to pursue in 2021.


Top 5 areas of strategic focus for the OCP IC in 2021 include:

  • Integrated Solutions
  • Sustainability and Circularity
  • DC Facilities Security
  • AI HW-SW co-design
  • Test and validation around OCP devices


I. OCP IC: The first decade

The OCP incubation committee dedicated the first decade to establish foundational and operational aspects of OCP. This was done in four phases:


Phase 1: Establish

  • The IC team made up of the IC Chairs and the IC representatives for each active project set cadence to adhere to the OCP Foundation charter via regular participation and ensured functionality of the IC.
  • Established stronger Community interactions via IC representative interactions with the Foundation and across other communities

Phase 2: Develop

  • Developed guidance and feedback to the incubated projects and help shape new projects & encourage the Project Leads and Community to bring new contributions forward. Defined and developed all events where their Project Community has a presence.


Phase 3: Contribute

  • Reviewed and voted on the disposition of each contribution to the OCP Foundation and ensured OCP principles were embodied in the contributions.
  • Ensured each contribution provided meaningful value to the OCP Community.

Phase 4: Grow

  • Grew various projects via creation of project charters that set guidelines & limits for activity & scope of work. Reviewed contributions for technical completeness.


II. OCP IC: The next decade

The OCP Incubation Committee continues to evolve, with new members joining in March 2019. The following summarizes how OCP IC has redefined its roles and responsibilities over the past two years:


Figure 1: Evolution of OCP IC role in 2019-2020


The primary motivation for this was to ensure that the OCP IC can work on more interesting and relevant work for the greater benefit to the OCP Community. Defining new strategic directions for OCP on a yearly basis is now a critical part of this effort.


The updated  OCP IC Mission is to highlight and solve emerging industry challenges. As noted here, the mission for next decade for the OCP IC is to identify industry problems faced by the data center world, champion the Community to build solutions and be a voice of the Community to the OCP board.



Figure 2: OCP Incubation Committee (IC) mission for the next decade


III. 2021 Strategic focus areas for OCP IC

Building on the historical foundation of identifying the industry challenges, we went through further refinement of the process by bringing external industry perspective via OMDIA (formerly IHSMarkit) research firm. Their findings on the gaps within OCP were presented to the OCP volunteer leadership on August 4th, 2020. Once the data was collected and reported back to project communities, we identified key themes and areas via voting and ranking. Here is the summary of the areas that have been identified for 2021.


All the key themes identified can be found here.


Following 5 key areas are identified for strategic focus and work for 2021.


1. Integrated Solutions:

Why? There are verticals beyond hyperscalers interested in deploying open data center infrastructure, verticals such as large enterprises, telco, edge etc. Lack of solution providers that define and offer turnkey solutions with OCP hardware.


What? Goal is to make it easy for mainstream IT decision makers and buyers to purchase OCP-certified hardware and software stack.


How? OCP Foundation (led by Steve Helvie) is involved in growing adoption of OCP and will be leading this work stream.


2. Sustainability and Circularity:

Why? There is growing momentum in the industry on focusing on sustainability and achieving net-carbon zero by 2030. You can read an announcement from FB here, Google’s announcement here and Microsoft announcement here. This is the primary motivation to mobilize the OCP Community to work on this very important initiative.


What? The primary goal is to identify a few specific key areas where the Community can focus to help the ecosystem achieve their net-carbon zero goals. This has to be done as a collective, as many of the value chain emissions get counted in the end-user budget. So we have to work across this value chain to reduce the emissions and the OCP Community is one place to do so.


How? We plan to establish a group of motivated, passionate individuals from across industry to lead this effort within OCP. The group will be formed early 2021. Microsoft and Google will play a key role in this work stream


3. Data Center Facilities Security:

Why? Solving Security challenges for extended data center facilities equipment such as power, cooling etc. DC facilities are becoming critical as vendors in this space innovate and provide diversity of security solutions. This creates additional complexity in our data centers where we want to streamline deployment with uniform ability to manage such gear.


What? The primary goal is to drive modernization of industrial control systems (ICS) and integrate device management into vulnerability scanning and mitigation workflows. Driving standardization via OCP specifications for the vendors to follow is key.


How? This is going to be launched via a new sub-project within the OCP Data Center Facilities Project. FB IDC team is engaged with the OCP Community to launch this effort in 1H-2021.


4. AI HW-SW Design Collaboration:

Why? To solve the growing complexity of AI workloads, a co-design approach is needed to allow for simultaneous work on all the HW and SW bottlenecks which can affect the performance - ne example is training time.


What? The goal is to explore the possibility of engaging with the OCP Community to see if any large scale experimentation can be done to look at solving various bottlenecks across compute, storage and networking.


How? OCP Symposium is a community of researchers in Universities and National Labs. By engaging with this community, we can explore forward-looking paths that can help us understand approaches to solving for AI HW-SW co-design.


5. Test and Validation for OCP devices and modules:

Why? OCP currently has no mechanism to allocate badging for devices that meet criteria defined by projects such as security attestation, open source firmware and performance benchmarking. Test and validation can promote OCP device adoption faster by adding certifying capabilities.


What? The proposal is to bring together the OCP Community to develop a common standard and test platform that reduces time-to-market for platform development.


How? There are few motivated individuals within FB and other organizations such as Google who want to find a common solution to drive this forward. One path forward could be to have a new project incubated within the OCP Community. This will be explored in 1H-2021 as an option.


Ask and Next Steps

We are looking for your help in two ways:


1. We are looking for passionate individuals who want to participate actively in these efforts.


2. We need your help amplifying this message within your organization.


Please reach out to Archna (archna@opencompute.org), Bill (bill@opencompute.org) or DJ (janidb@fb.com) to learn more about ways to get engaged.


Thank You!