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Microsoft Using OCS Technology To Boost Connectivity and Efficiency

The Microsoft Open CloudServer, sometimes shortened to OCS, is a series of specifications and standards that apply to rack servers and chassis systems. In use since early 2014, OCS is meant to promote energy efficiency while still bolstering connectivity and operability. The newest update to the OCS standard, v2, introduces a number of new features and innovations.

For starters, the dual-processer design support through OCS v2, which is based off the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor, enables the use of 28 cores per blade. Moreover, the core design itself is more versatile than ever before. As such, it is capable of supporting numerous add-on cards.

OCS v2 also features increased support for greater memory capacities. With full support for 128 GB, 192 GB or 256 GB of RAM, OCS v2 is able to meet the exact demands of each individual deployment. Furthermore, OCS v2 also features full support for flash-based memory, including high-capacity SSDs. Low-latency, high-bandwidth networking and virtualization is available with a 40-gigabit Ethernet connection. Finally, all of this is powered via the high-capacity power supply featuring 1,600 watts of deliverable power and a holdup time of 20 milliseconds.

Bill Laing, corporate vice president of the Cloud & Enterprise division with Microsoft, explained some of the tangible benefits of the Microsoft Open CloudServer. He was quoted as saying: “The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the datacenter servers we have designed to deliver the world’s most diverse portfolio of cloud services. These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform. They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times.”

OCS v2 was originally announced at the Open Compute Project (OCP) European Summit, which was held in Paris, France. Microsoft had joined the OCP approximately a year prior in an attempt to increase efficiency, versatility and resiliency across today’s datacenters and cloud servers.

A number of partners have shown interest in OCS v2. Included in the original unveiling of OCS v2 were such names at ZT Systems, Quanta QCT, Wiwynn and Hyve Solutions, while a number of other names – such as Intel, Seagate, Delta and more – have also expressed their support for OCS v2.

Kushagra Vaid, general manager of server engineering with Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise division, revealed the systems affected by OCS v2. He said: “Today, all new hardware infrastructure being deployed for Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Bing and Xbox Live is based on the OCS version 2 specification. With OCS v2, we added a number of performance and efficiency improvements via innovations in latest processor technology, high-bandwidth networking and more.”

With the amount of support already shown for OCS v2, it’s easy to see how the new server design can have a real impact on datacenters in the future. To keep up-to-date on OCS v2, or to find out information about any of Microsoft’s other products, please visit their official website at www.microsoft.com

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