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Microsoft joins Open Compute Project

Microsoft has announced that it will be contributing cloud server designs to the Open Compute Project (OCP), the initiative started by Facebook to encourage the development of more efficient data centres.

Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Cloud Enterprise at Microsoft, made the announcement on Tuesday in a keynote address at the OCP Summit in California.

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As part of Microsoft's involvement, the company will be contributing designs for some of the most advanced server hardware in Microsoft data centres to deliver cloud services, including Windows Azure, Office 365 and Bing.

"The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the data centre servers we have designed to deliver the world's most diverse portfolio of cloud services," Laing said.

"These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform."

In a blogpost detailing Microsoft's involvement, Laing described the server designs as "dramatic improvements" over traditional enterprise server designs.

Related: Facebook Open Compute idea slammed by Greenpeace

Laing expects the designs to contribute to Microsoft's environmental sustainability efforts by cutting out over 1,000 miles of network cabling.

"Our joining OCP and making this contribution builds on a long track record of sharing our cloud hardware learnings," Laing stated. "Our Global Foundation Services organization began providing datacenter research and insights to hardware partners more than five years ago.

"We look forward to seeing commercial offerings in the near future."