OCP U.S. Summit 2016: Day 1 Keynote Wrap-up

Today we kicked off our seventh OCP U.S. Summit 2016 in San Jose. Industry leaders took the stage to discuss innovative ways to build infrastructure that's more efficient, flexible, and scalable to support growing technology demands from businesses.

Since it began five years ago, the Open Compute Project has grown to include hundreds of companies and thousands of participants. We've seen more than two dozen new contributions accepted by OCP just in the past year. New companies and industries are getting involved with OCP, and many were highlighted in today's keynote presentations.

Below is an overview of today's keynote presentations:

Jason Taylor, President and Chairman of the Open Compute Project, and VP of Infrastructure, Facebook welcomed an audience of more than 2,000 attendees and highlighted the continued growth of the OCP community. He went on to discuss the OCP momentum we've seen among large web companies, financial technology, and telecommunications companies, including our recent launch of the OCP Telco Project. He also highlighted the development of 19” OCP gear is one of the largest trends we should anticipate. And given the extraordinary growth in the networking industry over the past six years, he explained why it's worth taking note and preparing for a massive increase in bandwidth.

Jason Waxman, Corporate Vice President, Data Center Group, and GM Cloud Platforms Group, Intel took to the stage at OCP U.S. Summit 2016 to share Intel’s most recent contributions and collaborations with the Open Compute community. Jason discussed a number of advancements including a next-generation data center storage architecture that pools high-speed NVM Express™ solid-state drives to accelerate storage performance co-developed with Facebook, and a high-performance 16-Core Intel® Xeon® D system on a chip (SoC), originally optimized for Facebook’s workload requirements and now enabled in an OCP form factor design. He also highlighted industry collaboration showcasing Intel® Rack Scale Architecture managing OCP compliant hardware in the development of their products. To read Jason’s OCP keynote blog go to: https://communities.intel.com/community/itpeernetwork/datastack/blog/2016/03/09/open-innovation-for-cloud-workloads

Peter Winzer, Ph.D and Head of the Optical Transmissions Systems and Networks Research Department at Bell Labs shared insights around how innovation has evolved since the earlier years of Bell Labs, and he provided a strong foundation for how our telecom infrastructure operates today. He shared key insights about how the Nobel Prize in Physics winning “Transistor” was developed nearly 80 years ago and brought Silicon Valley to life by exhibiting a culture of openness amongst competitive telecommunications operators. This led to an overview of some of the more recent work he and his team conducted around the 100G field trial with Verizon, which proved that capacity limits of optical networks could be shattered to help meet exponential growth in traffic from 5G and the IoT. Looking ahead, the team will focus on facing challenges around the capacity crunch in optical networking.

Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure, Microsoft spoke about the company’s open source journey of more than 10 years and the significant and growing contributions to open source projects ever since – particularly on Microsoft Azure. In describing why Microsoft is a member of OCP he stated, “It’s vital we do this to share the designs and technologies that power our own world-class cloud infrastructure, to enable an open, community-driven approach to innovation, and to help develop a robust ecosystem for the networking industry.” Mark also proposed a new innovation for OCP inclusion called Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC). True to its name, SONiC is about cloud speed and scale – and because it can easily extend with other open source, third party, or proprietary software components, it can ultimately speed up time to market and greatly improve datacenter efficiencies. To learn more about Microsoft’s history of contributions to OCP and this year’s innovation, click here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/ocp-2016-building-on-community-driven-innovation/

Rachael King, Reporter at the Wall Street Journal moderated a panel of telecommunications leaders, including Ken Duell from AT&T, Mahmoud El-Assir from Verizon, Kangwon Lee from SK Telecom, and Daniel Brower from Deutsche Telekom to discuss some of the common infrastructure challenges related to shifting to 5G quickly without disrupting service. Overall, as telco operators are focused on shifting to “white box” switches and routers and virtualizing their networks, taking an open approach to infrastructure will make the transition to 5G more efficient and will accelerate the speed of delivery and configuration of networks.

Jay Parikh, VP of Engineering and Infrastructure at Facebook took the stage today to emphasize the importance of efficiency when it comes to OCP. He talked about Facebook's focus on NVM — non-volatile memory — to help increase storage capacity, and why we need to move fast in order to support tomorrow's innovations.

  • With Intel, Facebook has worked on Xeon-D to use in Yosemite, and now is working on NVM. Read more on Facebook's Code blog here.
  • Facebook contributed Wedge 100 and 6-pack, their next-generation open networking switches.
  • OpenBMC software will now support Lightning, its new NVMe-based storage platform.
  • By leveraging NVIDIA's Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform, Big Sur — Facebook's powerful AI hardware — is twice as fast as the previous generation, and can train twice as fast and explore networks twice as large.
  • Facebook is also working with other companies on standardizing data center optics and inter-data center (WAN) transport solutions to help the industry move faster on networking. Microsoft, Verizon, and Equinix are all part of that effort.

Urs Hölzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow at Google shared the exciting news that Google joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) to help drive standardization in IT infrastructure. More specifically, Google is collaborating with Facebook on a new rack specification that includes 48V power distribution and a new form factor to allow OCP racks to fit into their data centers. John Zipfel, Technical Program Manager at Google, wrote a supplementary blog post here with more details: https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2016/03/Google-joins-Open-Compute-Project-to-drive-standards-in-IT-infrastructure.html

Tomorrow, we're running a full lineup of engineering workshops from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT. Hackathon winners will be announced at noon PT. The full agenda can be found here