The Open Compute Project (OCP) is bringing about interesting changes in the data center world. By supporting open designs for racks, servers, storage boxes and motherboards, traditional data center technologies are being broken down to core components for the potential to build more flexible, scalable and efficient data centers. (Check out our past coverage of the Open Compute Project to learn how and why Facebook built its own servers, power supplies, server racks and backup systems, and then shared the designs.)

The potential force of the OCP could reshape data centers and networks: the Open Compute Project reports that an Open Compute approach typically leads to 38% greater data center energy efficiency and 24% lower operating costs.

If OCP is a path you’re interested in pursuing, remember that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. There are solutions available to help you move in that direction over time and in stages, as your business needs demand it and your budget allows it.

Open Rack Design for OCP

An open bridge rack (OBR), for example, can provide a flexible path that to take you from today’s TIA/EIA-standard rails to open-standard rails when your data center is ready. These racks can be used in three configurations: networking, server and OCP. They allow you to standardize with one rack, no matter the environment.

You can use open bridge racks as standard IT enclosures now. When the migration to Open Compute happens, the racks will be ready – you won’t need to purchase new ones. They convert quickly (in less than 40 minutes) from TIA/EIA rails to Open Compute rails while in the field.

Collaborating on Design

Multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs) also benefit from open bridge racks: They can offer both an Open Compute solution and a standard solution without having to purchase and store double inventory.

The open bridge rack is part of the Open Compute Project’s “grid-to-gates” philosophy, which is a holistic design process that considers the interdependence of everything from the power grid to the gates in the chips on each motherboard.

Download our 10 Steps to Holistic Data Center Design white paperThe Future of OCP

The Open Compute Project began with the hope that the data center community would use the information and lessons shared by Facebook to reimagine, reinvent and make new technology advances. That vision is becoming reality as manufacturers create open-source products for data centers. Separate data center teams, budgets and silos, along with proprietary solutions, are gradually giving way.

To learn more about the Open Compute Project, or how Belden can help you move toward an Open Compute environment, visit the Belden Data Center Microsite.