Telecoms sign up to Facebook’s Open Compute Project

Verizon and AT&T have signed up with the Open Compute Project (OCP), an organisation founded by Facebook to promote the use of open computer hardware designs.

They join other major telecom companies such as Deutche Telecom, SK Telecom, and Equinix as signatories to the OCP initiative. The aims of OCP are to promote the use of low-cost computer hardware.

Members of OCP collaborate to design their own hardware such as routers and switches that have only the functionality they require and are free of overloaded features and functions that network vendors pile on in order to provide a differentiation in their products but also to justify a price boost.

This should be something to concern network vendors like Cisco and Juniper – if the latter doesn’t have enough concerns just now with its recent security breach. However, for network vendors, who are already under pressure from SDN, NFV, and SD-WAN, which would replace traditional high performance routers and switches with white box solutions, having major telecom companies giving their support to OCP is not encouraging.

Telecoms are big spenders in the network market purchasing high end routing and switching devices, however they are seeing revenue erode because of enterprise data centres moving to the cloud. So, for cash conscious Telecoms to signal their dissatisfaction with the over-designed and over priced network appliances should be a concern to the vendors such as Cisco and Juniper who are market leaders in this segment.

Cisco though, seemed to be unconcerned by the news, or was at least putting on a brave face in public. "We don’t view it as a threat," spokesman David McCulloch said via email. "Open standards, open source, and open-ness initiatives are only becoming more important to Cisco."

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