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It feels like yesterday that Frank Frankovsky, vice president of Hardware Design at Facebook and chairman of the Open Compute Project (OCP), sent me a Facebook message  - how fitting – about a budding open hardware project that he was working on. At Rackspace, we immediately jumped at the chance to be among the first companies to join the community, as we believed Open Compute was poised to flip the hardware model much like we did with cloud software when we founded OpenStack.
The mood in San Jose vacillated between quiet and congratulatory as participants in the fifth Open Compute Summit shared both their plans and their successes in front of a crowd of 3,800 registered attendees, up 90 percent from the 2,000 who registered last year.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) this week established North America’s first Open Compute Certification and Solution Laboratory at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
With a mission-based focus on scientific research, universities and research institutes have long been at the forefront of technology innovation that embraces open standards and ease of collaboration. By nature, the academy well understands that when hundreds of researchers contribute to a shared purpose and solve a shared problem in open and transparent ways, everyone benefits. The pace of innovation is accelerated and the diversity of solutions and approaches ensures that good solutions persist and not so good ones are quickly identified. Some might argue that the relative success of open-sourced platforms suggests that proprietary technologies often preclude necessary innovation. The growth of cloud has further challenged both researchers and industry. The scale economies of cloud-based solutions brings with it attendant challenges for the research community – beginning with the question of how to scale a conversation that brings both sides of an open community together to ensure that the full benefits of the cloud can be realized.
With OpenStack, we already have the open source software to run your data center. Now, we’re building the open source hardware to run it on. The Open Compute Project is a collaborative community of designers, consumers and innovators focused on building more efficient servers, storage and data center hardware designs for scalable computing at a lower cost.
Great things happen over drinks – big ideas are hatched and celebrations are had. But it’s not always easy to get everyone together to say “cheers.”
When Open Compute Foundation’s COO Cole Crawford gave a presentation at the OpenStack Summit in San Diego six months ago, he asked how many people in the audience had heard of his project. Only three hands went up. Fast forward, six months later, in Portland, he asked the same question and most people raised their hands. Like OpenStack itself, Open Compute is gaining interest.
Academic and scientific research often involves the construction of mathematical and numerical models to solve scientific and engineering problems. Traditionally, these complex and intensive computational models have been implemented on super computers or high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure.  These models are difficult to setup and operate, and can create a painful experience for researchers who often have to wait in a long line to use their university’s super computing infrastructure, whether it’s for a few hours or a few days.
One device getting a lot of buzz at SXSW Interactive is the Leap Motion Controller, which allows you to control your computer with hand motions in mid-air. We first caught sight of the controller over the weekend at Drone Games, when one team used it to control their quadcopter drone with up, down and tilting hand motions. Today we ventured over to Leap’s demo tent near the Austin Convention Center. Since the device doesn’t hit stores until May, SXSW has become its public debut.
When we joined the Open Compute Project as a founding member nearly two years ago, we made the promise to work closely with partners to deliver data center solutions built on open standards.
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