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datacenter global infrastructure on a world map for cloud computing

This year’s theme for OCP Global Summit is Open Possibilities, and in the Microsoft Azure team, we wholeheartedly agree—we have been part of tremendous creativity and resiliency as the community continued to collaborate, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. This year, we are excited to showcase some of our projects and technology at OCP Global Summit and share our learnings on the path of building a more reliable, trusted, and sustainable cloud alongside industry partners and the open source hardware ecosystem.

Accelerating open source innovation over the years

As OCP celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Microsoft is proud to have been one of the major contributors in the journey of reimaging datacenter designs and technology with the vibrant open source hardware community. We joined OCP in 2014, and over the years have shared the designs of our very own datacenters that powered Microsoft Azure (Open Cloud Server, OCS).  We continue to be inspired by the innovations and technology advancement made possible by industry partners and developers coming together as a community. We are glad to see Project Olympus, our open-sourced modular server architecture that was announced in 2016, achieving industry adoption and serving as the standard hardware design for over 60 datacenters regions around the world. In collaboration with the OCP community, Project Cerberus was introduced as the new industry standard for platform security in 2017, to equip datacenter designs with the critical components for robust security, firmware integrity, and hardware root of trust—deployed in Microsoft’s datacenters today. In 2020 we leaned in to innovate further by building upon datacenter foundations, and announced the Modular Building Block Architecture (MBA) initiative that provides interoperability for security, AI, and more.

Liquid cooling—from standards to production deployment to better chip performance

From early discussions on standardization in cold plates and liquid immersion cooling with OCP and partners, Microsoft achieved a milestone of deploying the world’s first two-phase liquid immersion cooling in a production public cloud environment in early 2021. We are excited to share from our latest research, that liquid cooling accentuates the benefits of overclocking, in which the chip components are operated beyond their pre-defined voltage, thermal, and power design limits to further improve performance. Our tests showed that with liquid cooling, the performance of some chipsets can increase by up to 20 percent. As liquid cooling unleashes new possibilities with fewer constraints and resources required for chip, server, and datacenter architecture, we look forward to engaging with the industry to not only further the cooling technology but also ensure safe and ergonomic operations of the immersion tanks.

Sustainably and responsibly meeting the computing demands of the future

Increasing demands for cloud computing leads to increasing demands for physical datacenters. It’s critical that Microsoft develop and operate the sites sustainably. As Microsoft committed to being carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste by 2030, we’ve created first-of-their-kind Microsoft Circular Centers, that will help us extend the lifecycle of servers and reuse them to reduce waste. We’re also working with the OCP community to collaborate on data gathering templates and contribute guidance on Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) as a method to understand and evaluate the environmental impact from our server hardware. As we expand the use of LCA and desire to apply it to assess impacts of bleeding edge technology, it is important to align on relevant metrics for measurement and accompanying supplier considerations across every stage of the hardware value chain. Microsoft will continue to actively work with the OCP community to define and further the sustainability agenda for the future of datacenters and to preserve our only planet.

Continuing to evolve and deliver cloud hardware innovation for scale

We continue to believe that collaboration through open source, community engagement, and industry partnership makes technology advancement more rigorous, faster, and better for the world. Together with OCP, we enable innovation, efficiency, scalability, and sustainability for the datacenter infrastructures of the future. We invite you to come visit Microsoft’s booth at OCP Global Summit 2021 and check out the Datacenter-ready Secure Control Module (DC-SCM) for modular server management, security, and control, as well as our two-phase liquid immersion cooling tank, and the newest addition to Project Olympus, a Modular 3U Chassis, designed for higher power devices and flexible connectivity. At OCP Global Summit’s Experience Center, you will also find us showcasing the latest 15mm E1.s form factor, which was led by Microsoft and developed in partnership with key industry players, for high-performance, high-density SSDs for next-generation servers and storage platforms.

Connect with us at OCP Global Summit 2021 and beyond

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