Best practice open source design principles are being rolled out across the data centre sector, as part of a hyperscale inspired initiative aimed at saving energy and reducing costs. Louise Frampton reports.
In 2011, Facebook shared its designs with the public and, along with Intel and Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and Andy Bechtolsheim, launched the Open Compute Project (OCP). The OCP Foundation has gone on to promote open source data centre design through its Data Center Facility Project, focusing on the key areas of efficiency, openness and scalability.
Today, there is growing interest in OCP and the technology and tenets on which the project are based are now finding their way into facilities outside of the hyperscale space. According to a recently published survey, by HIS Markit, the Government sector passed financial institutions in non-board OCP spending in 2017. The automotive and manufacturing sectors are expected to have the highest five-year CAGR, while healthcare is now in the early stages of OCP adoption. Overall, predictions for the immediate future are optimistic –the EMEA region has been identified as a primary region for OCP technology growth, with a forecast 59% CAGR over the next five years.
The survey also notes that the drivers of adoption of OCP are growing more diverse – cost reduction and power efficiency are still the biggest reasons for adoption, but the market is now realising that feature flexibility and conformance to specifications approved by OCP provide a measure of ‘comfort’ to the market.
At the recent OCP Global Summit, two European data centre operators were announced as having achieved ‘OCP Ready’ status: KAO Data, based at Harlow, in the UK, and Switch Datacenters from Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.
Kao Data’s London One 8.8MW facility has been designed to maximise the mechanical performance and thermal and electrical efficiency of OCP servers and other equipment, while providing access and equipment pathways for the largest OCP equipment throughout the data centre. The campus achieved OCP compliance across the five core areas (power, cooling, IT space layout and design, facility management and control, and facility operations). It also achieved over 75% in the ‘Optimum’ category, which means that the systems go beyond the base requirement, ensuring compliance with emerging standards.
Gerard Thibault, CTO at KAO Data, commented: “The recognition of the Kao Data facility as being OCP-Ready is a validation of the company’s philosophy of being ‘the home of innovation’. The Kao Data London One facility was envisaged as the UK’s first wholesale colocation data centre to be aligned with the hyperscale principles that target efficiency and effectiveness across the entire building and site.”
Adding further, Gerard said: “The achievement represents the laying of the design foundations by Paul Finch and the team at the start of the project and latterly the assistance provided by Mark Dansie and Brevan Reyer of the Data Centre Facility project under the stewardship of Steve Helvie of OCP. Everyone can now find their way to Kao Data from the OCP website [visit: www.opencompute.org and/or click on Marketplace/OCP-Ready].”
Switch Datacenters’ AMS1 site has also demonstrated that it complies with all site requirements for a colocation service provider to be able serve OCP customers and their hardware in its facilities. Using a patented own design, Switch Datacenters is among the greenest data centres in Europe with a PuE of <1.15.
In October 2018, Switch Datacenters, Rittal and Circle B also jointly announced the opening of the first European Experience Centre for OCP technology, located in the AMS1 site of Switch Datacenters. The Experience Centre is intended to help the OCP Community increase awareness of the advantages of OCP Hardware and OCP design architectures, and provides a real-life demo environment for customers.
“While the data centre market is exploding on a worldwide scale, we need to continuously keep looking for more efficient, smarter and greener solutions to be able to compete. OCP is one of the game-changing trends, and innovation is for us the only answer to grow. That is why Switch Datacenters is eager to cooperate and share our knowledge and learnings in an open community, like the globlal OCP Community, and we welcome believers in OCP technology to our Amsterdam facility,” commented Edgar van Essen, Managing Director of Switch Datacenters.