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Open-Source Hardware: Prepare For Disruption
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cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2014 | 3:34:41 PM
Is there enough financial incentive?
Is there enough financial incentive to switch? I think there is, but the main reason is to get into a design stream that produces a barebones server for the next generation data center. Redundant power supplies, redundant fans, even graphical processor units found on today's servers may all be dispensed with in a cloud setting. There, the software will detect pending device failure, shift workloads elsewhere, shutdown the server and schedule a component replacement. Also, placement of cables and wiring, placement in the rack, all of these things change as you move into a large scale-out or cloud setting. If the cost were the same, Fidelity, others would still want to do it. 

 
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
2/3/2014 | 8:00:40 PM
Re: Open Compute: Broad Appeal or Narrow?
When Linux and other open source software moved into a market, incumbent proprietary software vendors were generally soaking up fat profit margins and enjoying rising prices. Commodity server prices are falling and the margins are such that IBM is bailing out of the x86 business. Is there enough financial incentive to switch to open hardware? 
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
2/3/2014 | 6:27:55 PM
Open Source hardware free of backdoors?
Tom, Do you mean you think an Open Source design produced by a custom manufacturer of choice is much less likely to have an NSA-planted, backdoor access route? I hadn't thought of that as a driver of this type of hardware.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/3/2014 | 4:53:08 PM
Re: Open Compute: Broad Appeal or Narrow?
Does post-Snowden IT security auditing play a role in the appeal of OCP designs? I would think that with the paranoia about the potential for intelligence agencies to subvert hardware, open source designs would be a requirement as a matter of due diligence.
SADENNETT
IW Pick
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SADENNETT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2014 | 2:55:20 PM
It's about trust and the old "economy of scale".
I think they are on to something here that could be a big game changer -- at least for the hardware companies looking for an advantage against the big guys. For Facebook and others dealing with the same hardware delemma and capacity / energy needs,  a move like this becomes necessity. The real problem is can you trust the ones promoting change? For the proponents, can you afford to go it alone? But this is the gamble that companies will endure and why they get involved and or create a forum to promote like minded entities. And in the end it's about trust in the ones proposing change versus ones return on investment. 
cbabcock
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cbabcock,
User Rank: Strategist
2/3/2014 | 1:11:32 PM
Open Compute: Broad Appeal or Narrow?
Rob, I think the time lapse from leading edge adopter to mainstream use is longer with open source hardware than with software, and it's possible that there will be industry-specific server designs. Financial services companies tend to watch market leaders like Fidelity or State Street Bank, then quickly follow suit if it's onto a good thing. But, Rob, I'm a software guy and I don't have a good feel for how quickly hardware designs evolve or get adopted into mainstream markets. And some people, I know, think Open Compute will tend to address a narrow segment of the market.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
2/3/2014 | 11:01:15 AM
How Soon?
Charlie, in your view how long until open source hardware moves from the domain of very big, engineering-focused companies (such as Facebook and Fidelity) to most businesses with a competent IT organization?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/3/2014 | 10:59:45 AM
Fidelity's experience
Not suprising that Fidelity's experience is not music to Dell's ears. Of course financial service IT has more financial resources (and political capital) than is the case in many other verticals. It will be quite interesting to see if innovative IT teams in other verticals choose to mimic what Fidelity has done. How hard would it be to do this kind of revamp at your company?


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