Microsoft Contributes a Next-Generation Cloud Hardware/Software Concept

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 03, 2016

Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. He has eagerly talked about how he "loves Linux" and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based. A lot of people don't realize that Nadella came from running Microsoft's cloud division.

Now, the company has open sourced its cutting-edge hyperscale cloud hardware design and also contributed it to the Open Compute Project (OCP). Microsoft, of course, is a member of the OCP working group, which includes Facebook, Google, Intel, IBM, and a slew of other tech titans. The code for Microsoft's Project Olympus is now on GitHub.

According to a post:

"We are introducing Project Olympus – our next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community. This is a significant moment as we usher in a new era of open source hardware development at cloud speed.

"We’ve set out in collaboration with the OCP to introduce a new hardware development model for community based open collaboration. Project Olympus applies a model of open source collaboration that has been embraced for software but has historically been at odds with the physical demands of developing hardware. We’re taking a very different approach by contributing our next generation cloud hardware designs when they are approx. 50% complete – much earlier in the cycle than any previous OCP project. By sharing designs that are actively in development, Project Olympus will allow the community to contribute to the ecosystem by downloading, modifying, and forking the hardware design just like open source software."

 “Microsoft is opening the door to a new era of open source hardware development. Project Olympus, the re-imagined collaboration model and the way they’re bringing it to market, is unprecedented in the history of OCP and open source datacenter hardware,” said Bill Carter, Chief Technology Officer, Open Compute Project Foundation.

Microsoft added:

"The building blocks that Project Olympus will contribute consist of a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply with included batteries, 1U/2U server chassis, high-density storage expansion, a new universal rack power distribution unit (PDU) for global datacenter interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card. To enable customer choice and flexibility, these modular building blocks can be used independently to meet specific customer datacenter configurations. We believe Project Olympus is the most modular and flexible cloud hardware design in the datacenter industry. We intend for it to become the foundation for a broad ecosystem of compliant hardware products developed by the OCP community."

Microsoft says it has already released the server chassis interfaces (mechanical and power) and the universal motherboard and PDU specifications on the OCP GitHub branch, and in the coming weeks, it will also open source the entire rack system as well.