Google today announced that it’s joining the Open Compute Project (OCP), an organization through which Facebook and other companies have shared designs for their data center infrastructure in order to accelerate cross-company development and adoption of leading-edge technologies.

The arrival of Google in the OCP is a bit surprising. Facebook followed Google into building data centers optimized for its own workloads, and some of the people who worked on Google’s infrastructure have joined Facebook. Plus Facebook and Google have competed in certain areas. But the move isn’t completely surprising. Microsoft joined the OCP in 2014. It is interesting to watch Google, which competes intensely with Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business and other markets, join the same initiative. The question now is whether public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services will follow suit. But I’m not holding my breath on that.

Then again, it took Google five years to get its act together and join the OCP, which Facebook established in 2011. Better late than never, right?

Google will be contributing specifications for a 48-volt rack power distribution that it uses inside of its data centers, as well as technology for getting OCP-style racks full of servers and other equipment into Google’s data centers, Google technical program manager John Zipfel wrote in a blog post.

As for Facebook, it’s donating designs for a non-volatile memory (NVM) flash storage appliance. A blog post from Facebook hardware systems engineer Chris Petersen has more detail.


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