VMware is Now an Open Compute Project Gold Level Member

By Ray O’Farrell, corporate senior vice president, R&D, VMware

Today at VMworld 2014, we announced that VMware has joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) as a Gold level member. Our goal is to actively contribute to the OCP agenda including contributing source code to the project. The OCP’s mission is to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and data center hardware designs for scalable computing.

The Open Compute Project, launched by Facebook in 2011, applies open-source software principles to the hardware industry to drive the development of the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost. VMware originally worked with OCP back in May 2012 to certify VMware vSphere to run on open AMD- and Intel-based hardware.

Synergies Between the SDDC and OCP

The core tenet behind software-defined data center (SDDC) technologies is that they allow workloads to be abstracted from many aspects of the physical world.  And because of that abstraction and resource pooling, it allows movement of workloads, rapid reconfiguration, and better use of capital assets. In short, workload management is fundamentally more flexible because of the basic abstractions of virtualization and cloud.

However as I meet with VMware enterprise customers or VMware cloud providers a lot of “real world”  data center topics quickly rise to the surface; topics such as power consumption, bandwidth, cooling, high availability, etc. Great systems management software and dynamic workload management will enormously enhance availably and flexibility – but underlying it all there is, of course, a data center with servers, networking and storage.  Hardware still needs to be sourced, purchased, provisioned, managed and cooled. Today the data center is fundamentally changing, and we are entering an era where organizations continue to look for simpler data center infrastructure solutions at a lower TCO. To that end, there are no one-size-fits all solutions!

VMware has strong ecosystem of hardware and datacenter partners and huge amount of today’s IT relies on a combination of VMware infrastructure backed by high performance and highly resilient hardware from our partners. However, many newer third platform workloads rely on a fault resilient application platform or PaaS architecture. In those deployments, resiliency and availability services are often a built in as feature of the software. The IT leaders I meet with are reacting to these emerging workloads and are looking to expand their hardware choices.

OCP’s goals have always been in close alignment with our SDDC vision, making our OCP participation a natural extension of our longstanding efforts. That creates an opportunity to which lower cost hardware infrastructure can support modern application stacks; in addition, enterprises are beginning to look at these solutions for less critical applications such as tier-4 backend IT reporting applications or development, test and training environments, and of course supporting virtual private cloud-based architectures.

Our Commitment to the OCP

We are committed to offering customers greater choice in IT solutions. Moving forward, we will support certain qualified OCP configurations in future products and contribute software to the OCP in 2015. Our support of qualified OCP configurations in current technology projects will enable us to help customers more rapidly adopt software-defined data centers through the use of open hardware.

We look forward to working with the OCP as a valued partner. OCP’s Executive Director Cole Crawford shared the following statement with us regarding VMware joining the OCP:

VMware’s participation and technology in the Open Compute Project further validates open hardware as an enterprise-ready alternative. We look forward to working closely with VMware to truly enable the software-defined data center.

Since the early versions of vSphere through today’s SDDC products, VMware continues to place high value on ensuring our customers have choice and a broad ecosystem of partners to work with when building their data center infrastructure. IT organizations today demand ever greater agility and availability backed by flexibility and reduced costs. Our innovations in SDDC and contributions to OCP will continue to demonstrate our commitment to these requirements.

What do you think about our OCP participation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.