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Open Compute Project – Colocation Facility Guidelines & OCP Ready™ Program

Open Compute Project designs have already been implemented and efficiency gains continue to be realised by the operators of Hyperscale Data Centers.  Enterprises such as tier 2 cloud providers can also achieve the same cost saving benefits by deploying OCP IT gear into OCP Ready facilities.

Colocation Facility Guidelines for Deployment of Open Compute Project Racks

To assist colocation solution providers and their enterprise OCP users with understanding what it means for a facility to be recognised as OCP Ready, a sub-project was formed within the OCP Data Center Facility project. This sub-project team of volunteer community members were tasked to produce a colocation facility guidelines document, which applied to the deployment of all current OCP ‘Accepted’ Open Rack designs.

Within the guidelines document an ‘OCP Ready Requirements’ checklist has been created where the attributes of each of the data center sub-systems have been assessed and listed with classification headings of ‘must-have’, ‘nice-to-have’ or ‘considerations’. The parameters of each attribute have then been inserted into one of two columns, with the headings of ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Optimum’. The ‘must-have’/ ‘acceptable’ attributes have been considered by the project team as the minimum requirement needed to be provided by the colo to accommodate an Open Rack, with a base load of 500kg when populated with OCP IT gear, and an IT load of 6.6kW.

The ‘nice-to-have’ attributes are viewed as not essential for a deployment but could be beneficial based on a particular scenario. The attributes under the classification heading of ‘considerations’ are those which are usually tenant specific requirements. There is also guidance information within the ‘OCP Ready requirements’ checklist for an attribute’s parameter to be considered as optimum and, if implemented by the colocation solution provider and OCP user, would enable the full CAPEX and OPEX benefits of the Open Rack design to be achieved.

OCP Ready Requirements Checklist

The checklist has been segmented into the sub-system areas below for consideration by the colocation solution provider or OCP user:

  • Data Center Access
  • Electrical Systems
  • Cooling Systems
  • Telecommunication Cabling, Infrastructure, Pathways and Spaces
  • Network Infrastructure – Spine and Leaf Network

Data Center Access

This section of the checklist considers the requirements needed to allow a fully-populated crated rack to be brought into the data center from the point of off-loading from the delivery vehicle, and then brought into the facility via the loading bay or dock to the goods-in area. The many attributes that have been considered and included in the checklist range from a ‘must-have’/ ‘acceptable’ parameter of the delivery at road level with no step and threshold free, to a ‘must-have’/ ‘optimum’ which is a loading dock with an integral lift that would allow packaged racks on pallets to be transported directly from inside the truck level to the data center goods in area.

The ‘must-have’/ ‘acceptable’ parameter for the delivery pathway would be 2,7 m high x 1,2 m wide, as this would provide sufficient height and width clearance in the doorway leading to the goods-in and unboxing locations. It is also typical for ramps to be found in data center facilities, so it is important that the gradient of any ramp in the delivery pathway is known, as a fully populated Open Rack weighing 1500 kg would prove very difficult to move up a ramp that was steeper than a 1:12 incline.

Other ‘must-have’ attributes that have found their way onto the list, which can be very important to enable a smooth deployment, include specifications for the delivery pathway within the data center, such as height and width of door openings in corridors and the maximum weight a lift can carry.

White Space

In the checklist, several structural attributes for a data center have been considered, with many classed as ‘must-have’. Open Racks are heavy in nature and many of the colos built even as recently as 10 years ago were not designed to accommodate Pods of 24 racks, with each rack weighing between 500 kg to 1500 kg, so a ‘must-have’ / ‘acceptable’ parameter for the access floor uniformed load to support a 500 kg rack would be 732 kg/m2 (150 lb/ft2)(7.182 kN/m2).

Electrical Systems

The IT gear within an Open Rack is powered by one or two rack mounted power shelves, containing AC to DC rectifiers, which distribute 12V or 48V via busbars in the back of the rack to the equipment. This power shelf can also contain Li-ion or LiFePO4 batteries that would act as the battery backup (BBU) and therefore providing a benefit for a colo to not have to provide a centralised upstream UPS supply for the total IT load.

For a data center to be able to accommodate an Open Rack that has an IT load of 6.6 kW, a ‘must-have’ / ‘acceptable’ requirement would be to provide a rack supply, fed by a central upstream UPS with a capacity of 3 phase 16Amp, with a receptacle compatible with IEC60309 516R6W. The ‘nice-to-have’ attribute, which has been categorised as ‘optimum’ within the checklist, as it provides an opportunity to be more energy efficiency and resilient, would be for the data center to provide a supply to the rack that was not from the central upstream UPS but from the UPS input distribution board. Considerations for a data center and tenant would be to understand the generator start-up time if the racks were reliant on the battery backup unit (BBU) of the power shelf to be the UPS, so as to ensure that there was sufficient autonomy time to keep IT gear functioning before the generator set comes online.

Cooling Systems

One of the many advantages of the Open Rack design is that all servicing and cabling of the equipment in the rack can be carried out at the front, so if the racks are contained in a hot aisle then maintenance personnel will need never enter that space, which is normally very uncomfortable to work in; therefore, it has been considered as a ‘nice-to-have’/ ‘optimum’ arrangement to have a hot aisle containment system. The ‘must-have’ attributes in this section of the check list include either hot aisle or cold aisle containment, front to back air flow and inlet temperature, and humidity within the ASHRAE-recommended limits.

Telecommunication Cabling, Infrastructure, Pathways and Spaces

The ‘must-have’/ ‘acceptable’ arrangement for routing network cabling into an Open Rack would be either top or bottom entry and to the front of rack. A ‘nice-to-have’/ ’optimum’ parameter for routing cabling into racks for network connectivity would be to be fed from only the top of the rack and to the front.

Network Infrastructure  – Spine and Leaf Network

In this section of the checklist there are only ‘considerations’ listed, as this aspect of the design is very much specific to the needs of the OCP user’s use case. Attributes to be considered by the tenant include maximum link distance between Spine & Leaf network switches, transmission speeds of Top of Rack (TOR) switches, media type for TOR to Leaf and Leaf to Spine connectivity.

The OCP Colo Solution Provider (SP) and OCP Ready™ Programs

As a result of the creation of the OCP Ready requirements checklist within the guidelines document, OCP launched a program developed for colocation solution providers who would like to have their facility recognised as OCP Ready™. The Colo Solution Provider (SP) Program is designed to recognise those organisations with data center facilities which have met the OCP Ready requirements. Colo solution providers and OCP users whose compute infrastructure is located in an OCP Ready facility can take advantage of the efficiency gains made by deploying OCP technologies.  In order to be eligible for these programs a company must be a current OCP corporate member.

Colocation solution providers can obtain an OCP Ready™ certification mark for their facility by following a few easy steps.

To start the recognition process the colo solution provider should reach out to both the data center facility (DCF) project lead Brevan Reyher and OCP Ready lead Mark Dansie

The 2020 OCP Ready site assessment scorecard is completed by the colocation solution provider. Once the site assessment scorecard has been completed and is ready for review, a representative from the colocation solution provider presents their facility to the Community during a monthly DCF project call.

During the call, and for a review period afterwards, the results of the site assessment are shared and the Community can then ask clarifying questions. Once the DCF project members and DCF project lead are satisfied the process moves up to the OCP Incubation Committee (IC) for a final vote.

Upon approval by the IC a colocation solution provider becomes an OCP Colo Solution Provider and is awarded the OCP Ready™ Certification for that facility, and is eligible to list their facility alongside the other OCP Ready facilities on the OCP Marketplace.

More information

If you would like to know more here are some useful links.

Or ask Mark Dansie who is an OCP data center facility subject matter expert: mark.dansie@opencompute.org


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