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Being an unabashed proponent of Open Source, I can avoid the news about a new industry group trying to start an initiative to open source data center design. The Open Source Data Center Initiative, announced last week, will act as a repository of technologies associated with the design of datacenters. This initiative aims to rope in smaller industry players and researchers from academia.
The complete freedom afforded by open source licenses allows for large scale innovation. We have seen the disruptive potential of open source in the traditional software world as well as in the cloud based world. In a way, open source encapsulates the freedom available in the academia and, therefore, has the potential to disrupt wide ranging fields. It is no surprise that the folks behind this new initiative thought of Open Source approach as the right model to foster innovation in the data center design.
Compared to other fields of IT, the innovation on the data center front is relatively slow because the industry as a whole is slow to change. With cloud computing capturing the imagination of enterprises and public, It is important to innovate rapidly on the data center side. There are many industry groups that are pushing for change in the data center industry suggesting many different best practices for innovation. The Open Source Data Center Initiative tries to take a different approach from the other efforts by tapping into open source philosophy to promote innovative ideas from the participants. It is a partnership between Greentech Research Foundation, Inc and University of Missouri to establish an engineering framework for datacenter design and technologies. The complete text of the agreement can be found here.
This effort is joined by one of the veterans in the data center industry, Mike Manos who is now building a cloud infrastructure for Nokia. In his blog post, he clearly highlights the role of this initiative
To be clear, this Open Source Data Center Initiative is focused around execution. Its focused around putting together an open and free engineering framework upon which data center designs, technologies, and the like can be quickly put together and more-over standardize the approaches that both end-users and engineering firms approach the data center industry.
Imagine if you will a base framework upon which engineering firms, or even individual engineers can propose technologies and designs, specific solution vendors could pitch technologies for inclusion and highlight their effectiveness, more over than all of that it will remove much mystery behind the work that happens in designing facilities and normalize conversations.
In my opinion, it is a pretty solid move to foster innovation. With the impending need for smart and green data centers, such an open source approach is the right way to go.