OCP Global Summit: What Not to Miss!

We are a week away from the OCP Global Summit, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to see you all in San Jose! I have been asked by a lot of folks what I think are the most exciting sessions/themes/content, so I wrote up my cheat sheet on what shouldn’t be missed at the event based on the current schedule. If you’ve never come to an OCP Global Summit, please consider this an unofficial guide!

Tuesday at 9 am is the kickoff for OCP with keynotes from industry leaders. This year is chalk full of fantastic speakers and topics as usual. You’ll get the chance to “meet” OCP’s new CEO, George Tchaparian, hear from Zane Ball on Intel’s reimagining of modern data centers, learn from Meta’s Alexis Bjorlin about open, large scale AI infrastructure (which is going to be amazing!), and check out more about sustainable computing from Ampere’s Jeff Wittich. Then you can hear from Broadcom’s brilliant execution machine, Ram Velaga about the fabric of high performance computing (hint: it is Ethernet), you will hear from my wonderful board compatriots Partha Ranganathan from Google about system design in an open innovation ecosystem, and Microsoft’s Zaid Kahn about advancing security, efficiency, and innovation at cloud scale. Finally you will hear from Samsung’s Sanjeun Cho on memory in action and the sustainable investments they have made to advance the leading edge of manufacturing technology. This is a star-studded line up of some of the largest consumers and producers of Silicon and Systems in the world. You absolutely should not miss it!

In the afternoon on Tuesday the heart of Open Compute begins. For most conferences the keynotes are the main draw, but at OCP the community and tech talks are where it is at! In our technical sessions the community shares how open standards can meet collective market needs through base specifications that allow for interoperability, reliability and scale, but still enable innovation and differentiation. These sessions basically break into four main themes: system contributions, sustainability (frameworks, thermal design innovation, etc.), open networking (based on SAI-compliant ASICs running SONiC and including such topics as SDN enhancements, monitoring, test frameworks, high performance packet processing, using kubernetes as a management plane, etc.), and memory and storage innovation (CXL, tiering, NAND density enhancements). The ones I personally am most excited about are the Cloud-Optimized Silicon for NVMe and CXL from Marvel, the SONiC workshop, and the SONiC in SDN Environment session from Google (where PINS is now supported, and this talk gets into the configuration, deployment, and monitoring enhancements required to operate SONiC at scale). 

Starting at 5 pm there is an opening night reception in the Expo Hall hosted by IBM, and it is no secret that my band, Sinister Dexter is playing. Come join us for a drink, visit the booths full of partners building on top of OCP specifications, and who knows maybe come dance with us on the floor (or bring your instrument, and sit in!)

Wednesday is one of my favorite days at the summit because it starts with the Future Technologies Symposium. OCP has two primary goals: meeting our community’s current market needs, and seeding future innovation–the Future Technologies Symposium is all about that second objective. We start early on day 2, but it is worth not partying too hard at vendor events on Tuesday night so you don’t miss the incredible volunteer leaders of OCP speaking about storage, networking, server innovation forthcoming. Some of the topics that will shine here are how we as an industry are going to come together to adopt standards for Scope 3 GHG emissions reporting, the future of software defined memory, the management of fluid in data centers (because we absolutely are seeing TDPs in processor roadmaps that are forcing more efficient use of the power we have ESPECIALLY at the edge), updates on cloud serviceability models and how we need to operate across system components to ensure reliability, security, and scalability, storage disaggregation, telemetry and workload planning for dynamic control and sustainability in data center operations, chiplet proof of concept and ecosystem advancements, optics, and much much more. The Board’s very own Andy Bechtolsheim closes out the sessions, and then there will be a Block Party hosted by Meta and Google at the main entrance plaza of the convention center to cap off the day.

Thursday is the final day of technical sessions, and I may argue the best day since one of my very own team members, Sung Park, will be presenting that day. Day 4 is more focused on manageability, security, and server modularity specifications (DC-MHS, ORV V3, OAM, OCP NIC 3.0, OSF/MinPlatform, etc.) I personally will be looking forward to the DC-MHS M-DNO concept review with Dirk Blevins and the DC-SCM 2U/wide chassis presentation with my friend Siamak Tavallaei presenting. The theme of sustainability runs throughout the day from open system firmware and management, new standards so the community can see through marketese in this domain–Eric Dahlen and DJ will be co-presenting on new standards for modern data center assessments–PUE is a metric of the past friends and I’m super excited to see the biggest consumers and producers align on how we will report emissions, modularity (to maximize reuse of server components lowering embodied carbon footprints over time and reducing e-waste), and better thermal design from the silicon and systems to dynamic operation and control. There are even sessions on Time Appliances and synchronization mesh methods for clocks (turns out this REALLY matters in global fleets–glad to see standardization around it because not every server can be shipped everywhere, and there are some problems hardware is better at solving), network performance anomaly detection, and a lot of security innovation on top of DC-SCM (Caliptra, HYDRA, etc.) for disaggregated root of trust and attestation flows to improve security and isolation at scale. 

Long before I was on OCP’s Board, I viewed the OCP Global Summit as the industry event where the community speaks about their real world applications of new technologies. We are the systems builders, the ones who have to make it real. I cannot wait to see you all there to empower open!