Microsoft joins Facebook-founded Open Compute Project, touts its ‘unprecedented’ contributions

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Microsoft joins Facebook-founded Open Compute Project, touts its ‘unprecedented’ contributions

The fifth summit of the Open Compute Project is happening on Tuesday, and Microsoft has revealed that it is the latest member to join the group, a Facebook-founded initiative that sees the company and its partners commit to developing and sharing designs for data center infrastructure.

Bill Laing, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for cloud and enterprise, says in a blog post that Microsoft will contribute what it calls its “cloud server specification” to OCP — referring to the designs for server hardware in Microsoft data centers that are being deployed for its largest global cloud services including Windows Azure, Bing, and Office 365.

Microsoft says these servers are built to deal with the “enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements” of Windows Azure, its cloud platform. It says that compared to traditional enterprise server designs, the data center servers it has built to deliver its cloud services bring “up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times.”

Laing notes that Microsoft is the only other cloud service provider, other than Facebook, to publicly release its server specifications, and says the depth of information it is sharing with OCP is “unprecedented.”

To show its commitment, Microsoft Open Technologies is also open sourcing the software code it created for the management of hardware operations including server diagnostics, power supply and fan control. The code is available on GitHub from today onwards.

“The Microsoft cloud server specification for OCP will help drive hardware innovation for cloud computing, which strengthens the Cloud OS vision to give customers a consistent platform for better IT efficiency and economics,” Laing says.

Headline image via Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

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