Open Compute Project Branches out to Telcos

 From servers to networking and now carriers, the OCP wants to keep hardware open.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jan 27, 2016
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The Open Compute Project (OCP) today announced that is is launching a new effort specifically focused on the needs of large telco service providers. Among the big-name service providers that are joining the new OCP Telco Project are AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, EE, SK Telecom, and Verizon.

"OCP community momentum is strong, and we get closer to our vision of better and more open hardware development each time a new industry embraces the principles of openness and customization," Jason Taylor, President and Chairman of the OCP Board and VP of Infrastructure at Facebook, said in a statement. "Leaders in telecommunications embracing OCP signifies the start of a new and exciting chapter as we work together to enable better designs, easier adoption, and efficiency gains across the board."

OCP as an organization got started with the promise of opening up servers to enable a more flexible user-friendly approach to server hardware. In 2014, Facebook claimed that by leveraging OCP and open converged infrastructure, the social networking giant was able to save $1 billion in costs.

Since starting with servers, OCP has since branched into storage and most recently networking. The new telco effort looks to bridge multiple existing areas of OCP as well as enable a new carrier-grade class of open computing equipment reference designs.

For AT&T, the move to support the new OCP Telco project aligns well with the carrier's other efforts. AT&T today is already a supporter of the open-source OpenStack cloud and is also a leader in open-source Network Function Virtualization (NFV) efforts. AT&T is publicly committing to have three quarters of its network functions to be virtualized by the year 2020. Getting to that network virtualization state will require a new type of hardware approach.

"We're becoming a software and networking company," Andre Fuetsch, Senior Vice President of Architecture and Design at AT&T, said in a statement. "As a result, our central offices are going to look a lot more like data centers as we evolve our networking infrastructure. The Open Compute Project is innovating rapidly in this area, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with the community of engineers and developers that are driving the evolution."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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