It is quite exceptional to be noticed: Microsoft participates in an Open Source event. No, Windows’ source code is not being released (yet) but, by becoming a member of the Open Compute Project created by Facebook three years ago, Microsoft is opening the infrastructure design of its Windows Azure cloud. Although a major player of the likes of Amazon and others, Microsoft probably does not want to miss the boat on this promising sector: “We do this because we want to lead innovation in the design of the Cloud and of datacenters” said Bill Laing, Corporate VP of Cloud and Enterprise during his keynote at the Open Compute Summit in San Francisco. “And of course, we also want to learn from the community…”
For the record, the design of the servers that host the Windows Azure public cloud shows significant economies of scale. The chassis, for instance, would help save 10,000 tons of metal and 1,700 km of cables, simply by being modular. Without going into detail, each rack can be configured as a compute or storage node. They can plugged or removed without wiring which, for centers hosting hundreds of thousands of servers, represents a substantial time saver.
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