The telecommunications industry drive an enormous amount of IT spend and have great influence on the datacenter products on the market. One example of this that I like to use is switches. I remember the days when Cisco and others were still trying to achieve five 9’s (99.999% up-time). Now, even consumer Ethernet switches have Annualized Failure Rate (AFRs) of <0.5%. Today the Open Compute Project announced that it is creating a new OCP Telco Project. The announcement comes with a long list of telcos and vendors who are getting involved. I suspect we will hear more in this space over the coming months and am eagerly awaiting the impact it will have. As an example, AT&T for many years was Cisco’s top customer, and in the release below it is moving towards a NFV on commodity hardware architecture. We have already seen some server vendors (e.g. ASUS) start to adopt OCP components into their standard rackmount servers.
Here is the press release (copied below):
The Open Compute Project (OCP) is building on our past success and creating a new OCP Telco Project focused on data center technologies for telecommunications companies. In parallel, several leading operators and other industry leaders are joining OCP to help drive the project.
Since it was founded five years ago, OCP has brought new levels of openness to data center technology, and momentum is continuing to build around open source contributions for networking, servers, storage, and Open Rack. For example, we saw the acceptance of new OCP switches from Mellanox, Accton, and Inventec just in the past two months, along with an open TOR network switch from Facebook called Wedge.
Based on the positive results of these previous efforts, we are creating a new OCP Telco Project as an open forum to advance the following objectives: 1) communicating telco technical requirements effectively to the OCP community; 2) strengthening the OCP ecosystem to address the deployment and operational needs of telcos; and 3) bringing OCP innovations to telco data center infrastructure for increased cost-savings and agility.
We are optimistic about the potential of open hardware to bring large-scale gains to the telecommunications industry, and that starts with increased participation. Today, a number of leading telecommunications companies announced they are joining OCP to support the goal of openly working to drive more efficiency, flexibility, and customization in data center technologies. Specifically, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, EE, SK Telecom, and Verizon are joining OCP and demonstrating the demand for more innovation, vendor choice, and customization in their infrastructure designs.
Industry expertise is an important part of establishing new opportunities and paths for collaboration around open hardware. For example, Nokia has announced that they will incorporate OCP designs into its AirFrame Data Center Portfolio. We are also excited that Equinix and Nexius have joined OCP, making it easier for telecommunications companies to find efficiency and flexibility benefits through open hardware.
Jason Taylor, President and Chairman of the OCP Board and VP of Infrastructure at Facebook, said: “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. 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.”
“AT&T will virtualize 75% of its network functions by 2020, and to do that, we need to move to a model of sophisticated software running on commodity hardware,” said Andre Fuetsch, Senior Vice President of Architecture and Design at AT&T. “We’re becoming a software and networking company. 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. We look forward to our vendors and other industry players supporting this initiative, as well.”
“With the Cloudification of our network functions and the related change in our production models, the Telco industry is going through a massive transformation. Efficiency in our datacenters becomes critical for success – we fully support the open industry approach within OCP,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO, Deutsche Telekom AG.
“We are committing resources and expertise to OCP to support development of new approaches to telecommunication technology that can really make a difference to the way in which we build and deploy mobile communications networks in developed markets like the UK,” said Mansoor Hanif, Director of Radio Access Networks at EE. “For the last 18 months we’ve been developing our ambitious plans in this space, working behind the scenes to drive real disruption in the industry, and this is a major part of that disruptive work. We look forward to the next phase of implementing the new approaches developed within OCP.”
“As the global interconnection and data center company, we are excited to collaborate on innovative interconnection and infrastructure solutions that meet the demands of the new generation of applications leveraging Mobility, Big Data and Analytics. We look forward to ongoing work with the Open Compute Project to bring customers together across our business ecosystems for maximum flexibility and connectivity,” said Ihab Tarazi, CTO, Equinix.
“The cloud computing industry has introduced a new business model, fueled by open source communities, that is radically lower in cost and more elastic than the current infrastructure used by communications providers today,” said Lynn Martin, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Nexius. “To successfully compete and scale in this new environment, carriers must embrace open source communities, like OCP, and incorporate community efforts into their day-to-day operations. Nexius will leverage our deep expertise in Telecom and IT to propel OCP projects into the communications network realm, providing the tools and processes that enable communications providers and enterprises to adopt and orchestrate this new operating framework successfully.”
“Nokia is constantly at the cutting edge of technology innovation, and we feel that our collaboration with Facebook and OCP will be a game changer in terms of getting telco-specific requirements into the mix. We’re already working extensively with OCP designs and best practices and will be announcing some significant and complementary additions to our already leading AirFrame Data Centre Solution portfolio,” said Henri Tervonen, Vice President, Mobile Broadband Architecture at Nokia Networks.
“5G, with its diverse use cases, will open up a whole new ecosystem for telecom operators. SK Telecom is preparing the future by developing a flexible and open infrastructure that can adapt to the ever-changing service requirements. Joining OCP is our first step towards it. We hope other operators will also join the effort,” said Dr. Alex Choi, CTO, SK Telecom.
“Joining the Open Compute Project will drive wide-ranging efficiencies into our infrastructure and underscores Verizon’s commitment to deliver innovative digital solutions faster for our customers,” said Mahmoud El-Assir, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Global Technology Services at Verizon