Facebook Infrastructure Chief to Chair Open Compute Foundation, Succeed Frankovsky
Then Facebook’s hardware chief Frank Frankovsky announcing formation of the Open Compute Project in 2011

Facebook Infrastructure Chief to Chair Open Compute Foundation, Succeed Frankovsky

Jason Taylor replaces Frank Frankovsky, chair since OCP’s creation

Board of directors of the Open Compute Project Foundation, Facebook’s non-profit that champions open source data center and hardware design initiatives, has named a successor to Frank Frankovsky, who has been the board’s chair since it was created four years ago.

Jason Taylor, Facebook’s VP of infrastructure, will be the new OCP Foundation president chairman starting in October. He will chair the board until October 2016, according to the foundation’s new rules, which establish a yearly chairmanship rotation among companies represented on the board: Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Microsoft, and Rackspace.

“Our hope is that this new approach will allow for each of these companies to bring their unique experience and perspectives to bear on the work we’re all doing together,” the organization said in a blog post.

Frankovsky, a former VP of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook, has been the human face of OCP and its main evangelist since its start, and his departure is a major change for the foundation. He left Facebook last year to found and lead a cold-storage startup that used Blu-ray disks as the storage medium -- a concept developed at Facebook -- but stayed on the OCP Foundation’s board. His company, Optical Archive, was acquired by Sony earlier this year.

Facebook started OCP in 2011, open sourcing its custom server specs and infrastructure designs used at its first Prineville, Oregon, data center – the first data center the social network designed and built for its own use. It relied on leased facilities prior to the opening at Prineville.

The goal was to bring the open source software ethos to hardware design. Like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, Facebook designs its own hardware and infrastructure management software to fit the needs of its scale – something incumbent hardware vendors weren’t making products for at the time.

The approach has resulted in a lot of savings for Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year OCP had resulted in $1.2 billion in savings.

Goldman Sachs was one of the early participants in OCP and has made numerous contributions to the project. The company has been involved in development of OCP hardware, firmware, and BIOS. Jon Stanley, VP at Goldman’s IT and services division, told us in an interview earlier this year that 70 percent of new server purchases the company would make this year would be OCP servers.

Another major player in the financial services world that was involved with OCP from the early days was Fidelity Investments, which also has been considering an OCP deployment at scale.

While the value of switching to OCP in typical enterprise IT shops has been questioned, the biggest of financial services firms have been actively looking for ways to take advantage of the approach.

Read about Goldman’s, Fidelity’s, and other financial services giants’ OCP plans here

Intel has been involved with OCP from the early days as well. It’s hard to develop server specs without the involvement of the company that designs the majority of server platforms running in data centers around the world. One of the most interesting OCP projects with Intel has been the disaggregated rack, where individual server components can be swapped out as needed, and where servers share common infrastructure resources, such as power supplies and cooling fans.

Microsoft joined OCP more recently than other members of the board. The company became an official member early last year and also announced it had switched to a uniform strategy for server procurement for all of its cloud services. Its new server design specs are based on OCP designs.

Rackspace is a long-time supporter of OCP. The OpenStack infrastructure that supports its cloud services – both cloud VMs and bare-metal cloud – is built on its version of OCP servers.

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