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Microsoft announces their support and contribution to the OpenCompute project

On the brink of Open Compute Project Summit 2040 (OCP Summit V) starting tomorrow morning, Microsoft today announced the contribution of their cloud server designs to the Open Compute Project.

Microsoft OCP Keynote

Microsoft OCP Keynote

Interestingly enough, Bill Laing was scheduled to present a keynote tomorrow at the summit. This was surprising to me as Microsoft has been traditionally quiet about elaboration as to what kind of equipment they were using to power Azure. Now officially defined as the Microsoft Cloud Server Platform. This puts Microsoft in line with Facebook, to be the only cloud service providers to publicly release their server specifications.

Microsoft Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft Cloud Server Platform

Along with the hardware release, Microsoft is also open-sourcing the hardware management software needed to manage and control the power supplies, fans and server diagnostics.

This is a huge change in stance from typical Microsoft’s typical business model and a should hopefully be a huge plus for the Open Compute Project.

Microsoft Cloud Server Platform key design features:

Chassis-based shared design for cost and power efficiency

  • EIA rack mountable 12U Chassis leverages existing industry standards
  • Modular design for simplified solution assembly: mountable sidewalls, 1U trays, high efficiency commodity power supplies, large fans for efficient air movement, management card
  • Up to 24 commodity servers per chassis (two servers side-by-side), option for JBOD storage expansion
  • Optimized for mass contract manufacturing
  • Up to 40% cost savings and 15% power efficiency benefits vs. traditional enterprise servers
  • Estimated to save 10,000 tons of metal per one million servers manufactured

Blind-mated signal connectivity for servers

  • Decoupled architecture for server node and chassis enabling simplified installation and repair
  • Cable-free design, results in significantly fewer operator errors during servicing
  • Reduction of ‘No problem found’ incidents from loose cables
  • Up to 50% improvement in deployment and service times

Network and storage cabling via backplane architecture

  • Passive PCB backplane for simplicity and signal integrity risk reduction
  • Architectural flexibility for multiple network types such as 10Gbe/40Gbe, Copper/Optical
  • One-time cable install during chassis assembly at factory
  • No cable touch required during production operations and on-site support
  • Expected to save 1,100 miles of cable for a deployment of one million servers

Secure and scalable systems management

  • X86 SoC-based management card per chassis
  • Multiple layers of security for hardware operations: TPM secure boot, SSL transport for commands, Role-based authentication via Active Directory domain
  • REST API and CLI interfaces for scalable systems management
  • Support for server diagnostics and self-health checks
  • Up to 75% improvement in operational agility vs. traditional enterprise servers

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