OCP China Day

OCP China Day 2022 Discuss Sustainable Data Center Development with Open Compute

Posted by Steve Helvie, VP Channel Development OCP Foundation & Peter Ye, OCP China Community Lead, Chief Architect at Inspur Information

OCP China Day 2022 was held in Beijing on August 10th, hosted by the Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) and organized by Inspur Information. Celebrating its 4th year, OCP China Day is Asia's largest annual technology summit, attracting over 1,100 IT engineers and data center practitioners in attendance.

Themed "Open Forward: Green, Convergence, Empowering", this year's summit brought together experts and professionals from more than 30 world-renowned companies, universities and research institutions including the OCP Foundation, Inspur Information, Intel, Meta, Samsung, Western Digital, Enflame, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Alibaba Cloud, Baidu, Tencent Cloud, Tsinghua University, and more to discuss topics such as data center infrastructure innovation, sustainable development and the evolving industrial ecosystem.

Driving data center sustainability with green technology

"The confidence that our fellow members and external companies have in OCP is at the root of the Community's growing influence," said Steve Helvie, OCP's Vice President of Channels. "Open source hardware designed and validated by a wide range of experts breeds confidence for the companies that purchase and deploy these devices; and efficient hardware designs within the community that can reduce carbon emissions are helping to build confidence for data center sustainability. In the future, the community's research projects in thermal reuse, cooling environments, and other areas will inspire even greater confidence in data center infrastructure innovation."

As data centers become more visible as a new type of infrastructure, there is a growing concern over data center sustainability, such as utilizing renewable energy, recycling, thermal reuse, and the use of liquid-cooling technologies to reduce power consumption. The resulting greener carbon footprint, is one of OCP's top research priorities.

The newly established Cooling Environments Project has become OCP's largest cross-industry collaboration to date, with representatives from multiple companies and industries putting the spotlight on innovations in data center liquid-cooling technologies. The project integrates five sub-projects including Advanced Cooling Solutions (ACS) and Advanced Cooling Facilities (ACF). Examples include the ACS Cold Plate Sub-Project, ACS Door Heat Exchanger Sub-Project, ACS Immersion Sub-Project, Waste Heat Reuse Sub-Project, etc. The goal is to standardize the aforementioned sub-projects and physical interfaces through cross-project coordination between different cooling methods in data centers in order to accelerate data center innovation.

According to William Chen, Server Department Product Planning Director at Inspur Information, the rapidly growing scale of data centers is putting new pressure on global sustainability. Consequently, data centers must adopt and promote new technologies to reduce environmental impact as sustainability has become absolutely essential. A variety of solutions addressing liquid-cooling innovations, optimized data center layouts, and clean energy usage, will help reduce energy consumption and overall environmental impact.

In addition to taking an active part in OCP's Cooling Environments Project, many community members have also contributed to data center sustainability. For example, Inspur Information has put forward the company-level strategy of "All in Liquid Cooling" and built the largest liquid-cooled data center production and R&D base in Asia. Its four-product series includes general purpose servers, high density servers, rack servers and AI servers, all of which support cold plate cooling.

Accelerating data center innovation with global collaboration

The Open Compute Project, has created a new global collaboration model that eliminates technical barriers and makes hardware innovation faster than ever before.

Hou Zhenyu, Corporate Vice President, Baidu ABC Cloud Business Group, points out that as data centers move toward centralization and scale, IT infrastructure is encountering bigger challenges in terms of performance, power consumption, and deployment. Open Compute is committed to transforming the design standards of data center equipment from closed source to open source, accelerating the implementation of new technologies and facilitating the construction and efficient development of green data centers through the sharing in IT infrastructure including products, specifications and intellectual property.

With over 10 years of development, OCP's innovations now cover all aspects of data centers design, development and management. This includes heterogeneous computing, edge computing and other forward-looking technologies. The newly launched Open Rack 3.0 specification delivers more improvements in terms of space usage, load bearing, power supply, and liquid-cooling support. The design of ORv3 connectors enables blind insertion, and servers, when added to a rack, can be directly inserted into the liquid-cooling manifold. In the field of high-speed network communications, the OCP Mezz (NIC) specification has become the industry standard for I/O options, and SONIC/SAI has been deployed commercially in large volumes in Internet, communications and other industries. The OAM specification for Domain-Specific Architecture Design (DSA), which supports standardized access to multiple AI chips can meet the explosive growth in demand for AI accelerators worldwide, while the BoW specification for Chiplet interconnect allows chip manufacturers to mix and match chips using different manufacturing technologies to enable high-performance chip design across a variety of process steps. The DC-SCM standard (Data Center Security Control Management Module) defines a security control management module that is decoupled from the motherboard, enabling decoupling of the computing and security management units, allowing rapid iteration of motherboard design.

Dr. Weifeng Zhang, Chief Scientist of Heterogeneous Computing at Alibaba Cloud, noted that in recent years, there has been a clear trend toward decoupling computing system architectures to offset the slowdown of Moore's Law. With ongoing advances in chip and interconnectivity technologies, interoperability between computing devices has become key to the sustainable development of future computing.

Open hardware, open software, and hardware-software layered decoupling have emerged as prominent trends in data center development. This has also prompted vendors to shift from a closed proprietary mentality to one which emphasizes open source and collaboration. This openness gives more companies the opportunity to contribute to data center infrastructure innovation and inspire more innovative ideas through global collaboration.

Traditional industries embrace open compute for ecological empowerment

Open compute promotes standardization and ecosystem building by forming a consensus via open collaboration and enabling the delivery of infrastructure in line with open source specifications. This facilitates the rapid application of more innovative technologies. This industrial ecosystem allows hyper-scale data centers to apply open compute technologies on a large scale, and also encourages industry users and even SMEs to start deploying cutting-edge solutions based on open compute.

Open compute has been accelerating to expand from the Internet to other industries, such as telecommunications, finance, gaming, healthcare, auto manufacturing, etc. Omdia predicts that the market share of non-Internet industries in open compute will grow from 10.5% in 2020 to 21.9% in 2025.

The unique technical edge, subtle design thinking, and ecosystem collaboration of open compute are breaking boundaries in data center innovation and enabling the convergence of more technologies. In the future, global collaboration and co-innovation revolving around open compute will drive further data center advancement while addressing worldwide issues such as carbon emissions.

OCP China Day 2022