Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft Team for OCP Accelerator Module Specification

March 15, 2019 ·

Today at the Open Compute Project (OCP) 2019 Global Summit, Baidu noted a new collaboration with Facebook and Microsoft to define the OCP Accelerator Module (OAM) specification to increase the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) accelerators to benefit the development of AI.

The OAM specification which is expected to shorten the development of AI accelerators and speed up large scale adoption, is led by Baidu, Facebook, and Microsoft and supported by leading internet companies, AI accelerators leaders, AI accelerators startups, as well as ODM/OEMs.

Zhenyu Hou, Baidu Vice President, said: “Baidu is excited to work together with Facebook and Microsoft to define the OAM specification which significantly increases interoperability of AI accelerators and speeds up the large scale deployment. We believe the global AI ecosystem will benefit a lot from this.”

AI’s rapid evolution is creating an explosion of new types of hardware accelerators for Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Lack of interoperability among AI accelerators has led to slower development and increased time to adoption, thus creating the demand for an open AI accelerator architecture like OAM.

Under the strategy of “strengthening the mobile foundation and leading in AI”, Baidu has been steadily building an AI ecosystem, with accelerated productization and commercialization. Since the first release in 2016, Baidu has successfully launched 3 generations of X-MAN, the foundation of Baidu AI infrastructure, and deployed it in a large scale to accelerate Baidu’s AI strategy. X-MAN is designed with pioneering concepts such as hardware disaggregation, resource pooling, liquid cooling, hardware modularization and flexible topologies with unified architecture.

OCP is a 501(c)(6) foundation initiated in 2011 by Facebook and launched together with Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and Andy Bechtolsheim. Currently, nearly 200 Internet, software and hardware industry leaders, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and Cumulus Networks, actively participate in the Community.

Also, Huawei Technologies plans to adopt Open Rack in its new public cloud datacenters worldwide. The move is designed to enhance the environmental sustainability of Huawei’s new public cloud datacenters by using less energy for servers, while driving operational efficiency by reducing the time it takes to install and maintain racks.

The Open Rack initiative proposed by the Open Compute Project (OCP) seeks to redefine the data center rack and is one of the most promising developments in the scale computing environment. It is the first rack standard that is designed for data centers, integrating the rack into the data center infrastructure, a holistic design process that considers the interdependence of everything from the power grid to the gates in the chips on each motherboard. Adopted by some of the world’s largest hyperscale internet service providers such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Open Rack is helping to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and improve energy efficiency in the scale compute space.

“Huawei’s engineering and business leaders recognized the efficiency and flexibility that Open Rack offers, and the support that is available from a global supplier base. Providing cloud services to a global customer base creates certain challenges. The flexibility of the Open Rack specification and the ability to adapt for liquid cooling allows Huawei to service new geographies. Huawei’s decision to choose Open Rack is a great endorsement!” stated Bill Carter, Chief Technology Officer for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

As well as Huawei’s adoption of Open Rack in its cloud datacenters, the company is also expanding its work with the OCP Community to extend the design of the standard and further improve time-to-market, and high serviceability and reduce TCO.

Last year Huawei became an OCP Platinum Member and the company is a Platinum Sponsor of today’s OCP Global Summit. This demonstrates Huawei’s growing investment and commitment to the OCP and the open source community. Huawei’s active involvement within the OCP Community includes on-going participation and contributions for various OCP projects such as Rack and Power, System Management and Server projects with underlying contributions to the upcoming specs for OCP accelerator Module, Advanced Cooling Solutions and OpenRMC.

“Huawei’s strategic investment and commitment to OCP is a win-win,” said Mr. Zhang Xiaohua, GM of Huawei Intelligent Computing Department. “Combining Huawei’s extensive experience in Telco and Cloud deployments together with the knowledge of the vast OCP community will help Huawei to provide cutting edge, flexible and open solutions to its global customers. In turn, Huawei can leverage its market leadership and global datacenter infrastructure to help introduce OCP to new geographies and new market segments worldwide.”

During a keynote address at OCP Global Summit, Huawei will share more information about its Open Rack adoption plans as well as overall OCP strategy. Huawei is also planning to showcase some of the building blocks of these solutions in its booth, including OCP-based compute module, Huawei Kunpeng 920 ARM CPU, Huawei Ascend 310 AI processor and other Huawei intelligent Compute products.

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