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Opinion: Europe leading the way in OCP adoption

23 Nov 2018

Article by Schneider Electric Data Center Industry Alliances director Robert Bunger

After attending the 2018 Open Compute Summit in Amsterdam, I was impressed by its clear success and asked myself, “What do the Europeans know that we don’t here in the US?”

Attendance at the summit exceeded expectations, the engineering workshop breakouts on the second day were full, and as the exhibitions were breaking down, attendees were still there asking questions and learning.

In comparison to what you typically see in the afternoon on the last day of a show, it was rather lively.

I attribute this to Europe’s keen focus on all things sustainable and emerging solutions like OCP that bring about the next wave of efficiency in the data centre market.

My top takeaways from the Open Compute Summit

If you didn’t go, what did you miss? Here are a couple of my favorite topics:

Liquid Cooling: I realise you might be rolling your eyes right now with the mention of this buzzword, but hey – at least I’m not going on about blockchain! If you follow liquid cooling, you know that if feels more real now than ever.

  • Octave Klaba from OVH talked about the water-to-chip solution they have deployed since 2003. Yes – 2003! This innovation has been quietly developing in the background supporting their hosting business.
  • Peter Hopton from Iceotope presented on the EuroEXA High Performance Computing project, funded by the EU. The goal is to deploy 60MW of compute via 2MW liquid cooled ISO containers.

OCP Ready Facilities: Within the Data Center Facility project, a group of people worked for over a year to document what was different about a facility that supports OCP racks.

The culmination of the work has been published in a set of guidelines – educating readers on what to consider and giving an assessment checklist for colocation providers to apply for the OCP Ready program.

  • KAO Data Centers and Rackspace piloted and recently launched their programs, respectively.

The European partner structure: Where the US OCP market is set up to serve the hyperscale clients, Europe is preparing to server any size customer.

Partners such as 2CRSI and Circle B are currently providing OCP and OCP style solutions. This is quite a change from one to two years earlier when most were unaware of the technology.

OCP’s trajectory in the data centre market

Many people ask, “Is OCP gear really being deployed outside of the big guys in Europe?”

The answer is yes. Not in big quantities, but yes. Will there be more? Likely.

From what we have studied about the OCP & similar architectures, the cost and efficiency benefits should prove out and more of these racks will make their way into the data centre market.

There were many other interesting topics at the Summit. More than I can write about here. The great thing is you can re-live the conversations and overall show experience digitally.

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