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Facebook OCP: Why IT Service Providers Must Take Note

Whether you run a small managed services provider (MSP), a massive telco or a cloud services provider (CSP), you should pay close attention to Facebook's new EU2 data center. The reason: It will run entirely on Open Compute Project (OCP) technology.

That's a major milestone for Facebook and OCP technology -- which involves open source network hardware, servers, storage and plenty more. If OCP succeeds, it could disrupt traditional data center hardware providers -- particularly Cisco Systems.

ChannelE2E certainly is not predicting Cisco's implosion. But solutions providers would be wise to monitor OCP's progress -- much in the way that they monitored (and often embraced) Linux's progress on the server more than a decade ago.

So far, only seven solutions providers have lined up to support OCP in a major way. But one of the key backers is Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Also of note: Remote machine management tools are part of the OCP project -- meaning that a new generation of data center monitoring and management solutions could emerge.

Facebook Data Center: Completely Open Source

In a blog announcing Facebook's EU2 data center, VP of Infrastructure Tom Furlong wrote:

"All the racks, servers, and other components have been designed and built from scratch as part of the Open Compute Project, an industry-wide coalition of companies dedicated to creating energy- and cost-efficient infrastructure solutions and sharing them as open source."

Furlong has focused on data center technology for more than 15 years. Before joining Facebook in 2007, he held key positions at Savvis (now owned by CenturyLink) and Yahoo, where he led the search company's data center and development strategy.

Furlong didn't say when the EU2 data center would specifically open. It will be based in Clonee, Ireland -- the social network's second European data and sixth worldwide.

OCP Ecosystem Emerges

Meanwhile, a major Open Compute Project conference -- called OCP U.S. Summit 2016 -- is set for March in San Jose. Key backers at the conference will include Intel, Microsoft, Samsung and Toshiba, along with a range of emerging vendors.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.