Apple has been 'quietly' involved in one of Facebook's most important tech projects
And on Tuesday, during the project's U.S. customer conference, the guy responsible for OCP revealed an interesting fact: Apple has been quietly working with the project and has now decided to publicly join it."Apple is a new member," Frank Frankovsky, chairman and president of the project told the audience, as he read off a long list of new members.
Apple's involvement is interesting because it means that Facebook's project, which aims to revolutionize the computer hardware industry the way the Linux operating system changed the software industry, now involves nearly all the biggest cloud/internet companies in the world.
Microsoft leads the way
Most importantly, its hardware designs are free and "open source," meaning anyone can use them, modify them, and send out to a contract manufacturer, and contribute their technology back to the group.This is unique in the industry. Other cloud providers build their own hardware too, like Google and Amazon, but they keep their designs close to their chest.A year ago, the OCP project made waves when Microsoft joined it, Frankovsky acknowledged.
"When we announced Microsoft as a new member I think a lot of people in the community were were skeptical. Why is Microsoft here? Is it like a marketing effort? Will they actually contribute? I can tell you the Microsoft team has contributed not only so much time, but also so much intellectual property, that it's fantastic. Thank you, Microsoft," he said.
Will Apple do the same?
Microsoft, of course, has a huge need for the kind of cloud-friendly hardware OCP creates. It has a gigantic and growing number of internet data centers that run things like the Bing search engine, Office 365, its Amazon competitor Azure, and a lot of other online services.Apple has the same need. Its data centers run things like iTunes, Siri, iCloud and its online Microsoft Office competitor, iWork for iCloud.
If Apple gets as involved as Microsoft, contributing hardware designs and software, this project will blow up the traditional tech companies selling servers the old fashioned way.
It's workingBank of America told the Wall Street Journal that it plans to use OCP for 80% of its data center needs by 2018.
And it's working. The hardware industry is being revolutionized. Not only are there Taiwanese contract manufactures standing by to build OCP servers, but the traditional vendors like HP and Dell have OCP servers that anyone can buy.HP even announced at the conference that it has a whole new line of OCP cloud-friendly servers for sale, built with via its expanded partnership with China contract manufacturer Foxconn.
Even IBM is on board
Between the open source hardware chip and the open-source everything else, Frankovsky says this server is "the most open architecture than we have ever seen," he says. It's "a server that has gobs and gobs of memory" and can host more computer applications than "ever before."
The ultimate goal of all of this?"I don't want to even acknowledge the fact that there is an industry norm that needs to be adhered to. Let's just blow that the hell up and start over. What I've seen over the last four years in this community, is that people are listening," Frankovsky says.
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