My picks for this week’s articles start out with some new technology – the most recent hardware contributions to the Open Compute Project (OCP) from Microsoft and Facebook. Servers and switches are, as a class, old technology, but these designs offer a new spin that will help webscale data centers to keep evolving. Likewise, the third article describes an old technology which is finding new popularity – maybe!
Digital Trends | Saqib Shah reports on Facebook’s new “Backpack” switch, which is already in production and will be contributed to OCP soon. This is the usual approach to open-source hardware: finalize a design and then share it to inspire further development of associated hardware and growth of an interoperable ecosystem. Read on for what might be the next stage of that movement.
Data Center Knowledge | Yevgeniy Sverdlik discusses Microsoft’s departure from the normal approach to contributing hardware designs to OCP. Their new “Project Olympus” cloud server is in a relatively early stage of the development cycle rather than a finished project. This move is intended to shift OCP closer to the software model of open-source projects, where the product design itself is improved by community contributions. When combined with the aforementioned development of an associated product ecosystem, this approach has a lot of potential.
Ars Technica | Sebastian Anthony starts off with a lesson in an old technology I never knew existed - microwave networks for secure, high-bandwidth and high-speed data transmission. Common from the 50’s to 80’s, microwave networks have mostly been replaced by fiber, at least for public trunk network connections. On the other hand, there are indications that microwave networks are still thriving as an option for industry giants looking for privacy and speed. We don’t really know – that’s the nature of secrets, after all – but Sebastian builds an interesting case!
On the topic of technology which is both old and new, Fiber Mountain’s OPX brings the optical cross-connect into the SDN age. Don’t miss Bill Miller’s excellent post on why data center cross-connects are not just relevant again, but a vital piece of the SDN puzzle.