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Microsoft Cloud Hardware IT

Microsoft Joins Open Compute Project, Will Share Server Designs 90

Posted by timothy
from the big-tent-theory dept.
1sockchuck writes "Microsoft has joined the Open Compute Project and will be contributing specs and designs for the cloud servers that power Bing, Windows Azure and Office 365. "We came to the conclusion that sharing these hardware innovations will help us accelerate the growth of cloud computing," said Kushagra Vaid, Microsoft's General Manager of Cloud Server Engineering. The company is also releasing its Chassis Manager software that manages its servers, fans and power, which which is now available on GitHub. "We would like to help build an open source software community within OCP as well," said Microsoft's Bill Laing. Microsoft's cloud server hardware is built around a 12U chassis that can house up to 24 server and storage blades, offering a different approach from the current Open Compute server and storage designs."
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Microsoft Joins Open Compute Project, Will Share Server Designs

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  • Re:Cloud (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:06AM (#46090261)
    Well, for example, it's much easier for third parties (*cough* NSA *cough*) to obtain user's data in bulk from one "cloud service" than from dozens/hundreds/thousands of workstations or SBS's.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:13AM (#46090291)

    It looks like the skeleton of code to put into 'firmware' of the chassis manager. This suggests they believe the chassis manager should be running Windows as the embedded solution... Holy shit what a terrible idea for a standard, the cost of the module would increase to start with (a hardware design for that role runs 40-50 bucks, moving to atom doubles that) and the cost of the OS to run on top of it would be more than the hardware cost total.

  • Re:Cloud (Score:5, Informative)

    by rwise2112 (648849) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:18AM (#46090329)
    Sounds like what OwnCloud [owncloud.org] does, but I don't know all the details of how it works.
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:47AM (#46090975)

    Microsoft isn't giving their server designs away out of the goodness of their hearts. They have a huge interest in getting people to move their workloads to Azure. The first step for most places has to be getting them off of VMWare or KVM onto Hyper-V/Windows Server. Next step is convincing enterprises to buy these whitebox server designs to save money on their on-premises stuff. Finally they'll make Azure too good a deal to pass up for the CIO crowd with the usual argument that you can fire most of your IT department. It's already super-easy to publish your applications right from Visual Studio to Azure...again, not an accident.

    I actually think the whitebox design method is a good thing...IF...you have a dedicated staff working 24/7 to repair/replace sickly boxes, and the workload is such that a box is a box is a box. This works perfectly for large scale web apps backed by a SAN, or hypervisor hosts. It doesn't work as well for standalone application stacks that have semi-permanent physical server dependencies. Renting 3 servers in the cloud doesn't make as much sense as renting 3,000.

    My company does a lot of standalone deployments of applications around the world, in places where network connectivity doesn't permit easy cloud access. It's getting harder to find vendors who aren't trying to steer us to the cloud. Microsoft is making it very difficult to purchase perpetual licenses of software, with the price of a negotiated Software Assurance deal being set less than the equivalent one time license fee [1]. Now that IBM just bailed out of the x86 server market, HP is pretty much the only vendor left making decent hardware for non-cloud applications.

    I totally get why AWS, Azure and public clouds make sense. When you're running the back-end for an iPhone app, and need 40,000 web servers all cranking out the same content, it makes sense to rent that. But a lot of companies don't seem to get that it's more expensive to do the cloud thing if the servers are going to be permanent and you're hosting one of those boring line-of-business apps. Hopefully people will realize this before the last decent x86 server vendor quits selling non-cloud-optimized servers.

    [1] Licensing SQL Server on multi-socket physical boxes is insanely expensive now compared to VMs. I had to add ESXi to our solution for a recent deployment just to save thousands of dollars on the database license for a low-powered app.

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