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The Trend of Joining the Open Compute Model

Despite Facebook commencing their initiative of the Open Compute Project (OCP) back in 2011, it has only become sought-after in the recent years.

The wave of popularity started in early 2015, when giants Apple, Cisco and Juniper Networks all joined across the duration of March and following their announcements, companies such as Google, Lenovo and Nokia were quick to become a part of OCP. Only a few days ago, online e-commerce platform Alibaba announced they were joining OCP.

The trend of increasing OCP members is highly connected to the core idea of the community: OCP’s aim is to encourage open innovation where newest technology is shared between all members to ensure all companies benefit from the newest development. The area of the technology is, of course, limited: it only concerns solutions related to data centre designs and hardware. All members are expected to provide annual capital (from $1000) and depending on their level, time and intellectual property.

Through this membership, OCP is able to bring together the latest creations to store data effectively, which means that whilst all companies gain assets, the contributors do not lose any of their competitive advantage. The community also encourages any projects that members can work on together; some of these include improving high performance computing, standardising servers and connecting data centre infrastructure with delivering IT services.

At the moment, the organisation has over 200 companies in its midst: many of these are leaders in their respective fields, with a good number contributing IP annually. If this wasn’t enough to attract companies, OCP has benefitted the existing members significantly: it saved Facebook $2 billion in infrastructure costs, cut Fidelity Investments’ data centre’s electricity consumption by 20% and follows the model that lead to the creation of Linux in the open source software movement.

After the previous success of similar endeavours , it seems that open source is the much-preferred way to move forward with innovation. The private approach that has been a favourite of Apple’s (who remain a community level OCP member, the lowest of four tiers) is being seen as old-fashioned, even by those sceptical of OCP at first. Dashboard strives to recognise the most significant advances in technology, so it is important for us to note that it is becoming ever trendier to open up innovation in a field that has traditionally valued secrecy.

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