Building infrastructure to serve billions of people
Over the past decade, OCP has had a significant impact on the industry’s transition from operating as closed, siloed systems to becoming disaggregated, open systems. That means we can easily replace hardware or software when better technology becomes available — enabling us to improve efficiency in computing, storage, and networking. This has also allowed others to build data centers following the blueprints contributed to the OCP.
This seismic shift that began with the launch of OCP in 2011 accelerated in 2013 when we launched the Networking Project, which created a disaggregated network switch that made it easier to scale data center technologies and modify the software that runs on them. Our networking hardware followed a similar trajectory. We transformed proprietary devices into open systems and decoupled networking hardware and software, a move that marked one of OCP’s biggest impacts on the data center industry.
From there, we kept building. In 2014, we announced Wedge, a top-of-rack switch, and FBOSS, a Linux operating system. Wedge was the first instance of an open and disaggregated top-of-rack switch in the industry. With this, we gained a greater level of visibility, automation, and control in network operations while freeing up our engineers to focus more on bringing new capabilities to the network.
We continued to build on Wedge and FBOSS to develop Backpack and Minipack, modular platforms that enabled us to modify any part of a system without hardware and software interruptions. We also launched Yosemite, an open source modular chassis, which included processor modules that provided our infrastructure with capacity on demand.
Our partnership within the industry grew with the growth of OCP community. One example was our work with Microsoft, looking at rack designs for the server racks that populate data centers.
This effort culminated in our contribution of the Open Rack frame to OCP in 2019. Together, we designed a server rack that efficiently distributed power, stayed cool, and was interoperable to enable efficiency and operational flexibility.
Over time, our workloads continued to evolve to serve the needs of billions of people around the globe. To support artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning demands, we again looked at OCP to explore a standard form for AI accelerator modules to increase flexibility around hardware accelerators that supported deep learning. In 2019, we shared our designs via the release of the OCP Accelerator Module to the OCP community.
Last year, we announced a new timekeeping service based on Network Time Protocol to improve accuracy from 10 milliseconds to 100 microseconds. Continuing our philosophy of open collaboration, we recently launched OCP’s Time Appliances Project to provide even more precise timing. Our first contribution here is a new time appliance, including the Time Card, a card that can turn almost any server into a time appliance. Meta continues to share and build standard and open ecosystems in various areas of data center infrastructure via Open Compute Project to promote greater collaboration and faster innovation in the field.