Opportunities for the Danish data center ecosystem: district heating contribute

Date: 28/08/2018

The Open Compute Project (OCP) is an open source hardware community movement which aims to bring transparency to hardware development by sharing ideas and innovations collectively to be better and more efficient. The non-profit OCP Foundation started in 2011 by the hyperscalers (Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc) but has now grown to include the world’s Telecommunications Service Providers and companies at various stages of the data center supply chain.

In preparation for DDI’s Networking Meet-Up for its members from the data center ecosystem in Denmark on September 11 in Odense, the Danish Data Center Industry sat with OCP Reset Catalyst and EMEA Lead John Laban for a fire-side chat on OCP’s growing community. Furthermore, John shares his thoughts on the “open” opportunities for Danish and Nordic operators, and how vendors and operators alike should embrace the OCP wave.

Danish Data Center Industry: Why is the open source model increasingly gaining traction in the industry across the world?

John Laban: Open Source technology is not a new phenomenon! This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of “The Baby” which was the world’s first stored program-controlled computer hacked together by a group of open collaborators at Manchester University in 1948. If one studies the early innovations of those heavier than air flying machines, you will also discover that this too was an open source technology. Have you ever wondered why the parts of these flying machines use French words – fuselage, aileron – when the first flight was in the USA? This was because the Wright Brothers closed down innovation in the USA by going patents stir crazy so the open source collaboration shifted to Europe and today we use a French derived word for these heavier than air flying machines -“aeroplanes”.

The largest machine created by humans is the “Open Internet” and without open collaboration and sharing the infrastructure, this machine would never have been possible. The Human Genome Project is another example of an open source technology innovation. Humans are social sharing animals and this is why we proliferate to all corners of the Earth – collaboration is burnt into our DNA. As we build on the Open Internet that is accelerating permission less innovation, we humans are beginning to realise that we will only solve these problems through open collaboration. Are you aware that there are no patents on Tesla cars? Ever wondered why? Openness produces better products faster so it will always win in the end.

Danish Data Center Industry: How relevant is it for operators in Denmark and which type of operations can especially benefit here?

John Laban: Those hyperscale data centres in Denmark are built using open source technologies. The new Facebook Data Centre under construction in Odense will be an OCP optimized facility, filled with vanity free open source servers, storage and network gear.

Denmark has an extensive district heating infrastructure which is ideal for plugging data centres into, and OCP optimized data centres are more suited for heat reuse because technicians do not go to the back of OCP racks so it’s possible to run much hotter hot aisles than in traditional air cooled data centres. I should also mention that a liquid cooling subgroup was formed this month in the OCP community and this is by far the best match for recovering heat for district heating systems because it reduces the additional energy required for heat pumps.

Read the rest of the interview here