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The pros and cons of Open Compute

Room to live

Another tip is to make space. While this may seem obvious, you should allocate new data centre space and prepare for serious growth. Trying to mix infrastructures and design methodologies is a recipe for tears before bedtime.

Start small until you know what you’re doing. Data centres are complex environments, so don’t immediately deploy Open Compute gear into a production environment. Take the time to see how Open Compute would fit within your environment. Using white-box designs can help in certain scenarios, but it is up to the administrator and business to see if they would benefit from the Open Compute approach.

Starting small translates as working in a less important dev environment first. That way, should the worst happen, it's not the customers who are getting put out.

Open Compute is in its infancy, but it aims to do what no other large-scale vendor is prepared to do – share technology and improvements with anyone who is interested and tweak designs to optimise them further.

Several OEMs are now actively producing and supporting Open Compute-compliant nodes that are designed for data-intensive applications. The open network and storage infrastructure is sadly currently lacking but will over time start to converge into a more administrator-friendly (read easy to use and administer) hardware solution that can be purchased in the same way compute capacity can be at present.

One COO, who wished to remain anonymous, had this to say about Open Compute: "The days of traditional vendor hardware are coming to an end. Our largest customers are now our most fearsome competitors. The hardware business has become a race to the bottom, where we are 'collectively' fighting in a battle we've already lost."

If that doesn’t give you a sense of how important Open Compute is set to be, I don’t know what will.

But it’s worth being prepared, and approaching Open Compute with the appropriate caution and planning rather than getting burned by jumping in with both feet at this early stage. ®


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