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Microsoft’s Project Olympus enlightens open source cloud path

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Microsoft Project Olympus for cloud hardware

Over four months after its official launch, Project Olympus by Microsoft has finalised its future moves and expanded the open source hardware development by adding semiconductor manufacturers like NVIDIA, Intel, Qualcomm, AMD and Cavium. The new development is aimed to bring a full-fledged cloud hardware closer to the open source community.

Microsoft had announced Project Olympus in late October last year to deliver a next-generation cloud hardware design that massively believes the success in open source. While the initial model is yet to get into the final picture, the Redmond company is now on a plan to bring open source cloud hardware to reality.

Microsoft is working closely with the Open Compute Project (OCP) team to enable its Project Olympus as an open source cooperative standard for server hardware that will provide both cloud and enterprise services. At the 2017 OCP US Summit, the software giant announced that Project Olympus had “attracted the latest in silicon innovation” — offering an advanced model for emerging cloud workloads such as big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Support for newer chips

To reach a large number of projects, Project Olympus standard will be seen in next generation Intel Zeon and AMD processors. The hardware standard will also support ARM processors by Qualcomm and Cavium. Interestingly, this will open new verticals altogether since ARM-based chips are never associated with Microsoft software.

“This is a significant moment as we usher in a new era of open source hardware development with the OCP community. We intend for Project Olympus to provide a blueprint for future hardware development and collaboration at cloud speed,” said Kushagra Vaid, general manager for Azure hardware infrastrcutre, Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft aims to accomplish building the hardware that is robust, flexible as well as scalable in terms of capacity. The best part is, this standard is CPU independent. So the CPU and supporting subsystem can be anything. Moreover, the collaborative agreement between the Project Olympus and chipmakers will enable this independency.

Apart from supporting advanced hardware, Microsoft is projecting a strong and quantifiable foundation for cloud software development with Project Olympus. Azure is expected to enable this software foundation through some of the recent open source projects.

The rapid rate of cloud adoption is already suggesting the future of computing in the cloud. Therefore, a universal standard like Project Olympus is likely to help software makers be less dependent on hardware drivers and CPU specifications.