Last Friday (March 8th), Seagate hosted the first SFBay Open Compute Project Storage Meetup at the Cypress Hotel next to Seagate headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

In collaboration with WD/HGST the first meetup was more about laying the groundwork, the goals, what attendees expected out of the discussions than introducing any new ground-breaking storage device for the cloud.  Jim Hughes – a technologist from Seagate – did take the group through a presentation on Shingled Magnetic Recording, or SMR and the standards Seagate & WD/HGST are driving with the technology .

The better part of the 3 hour meetup was focused on setting expectations. John Dickinson (Director of Technology at SwiftStack & OCP Storage Chair) opened the meetup with the goal being centered on how storage technology development and innovation can best respond to customer needs with an open hardware focus.

Much of the discussion centered on defining “Open Hardware.”  What does this look like?  Attendees agreed that there is a need to better define use cases to better examine how storage device technology can best address them – one by one. The challenge comes from the fact that the hardware industry is largely industry standards driven, whereas the software industry is less so which is indicative of the innovation taking place in a software-led data center. When Facebook launched OCP in 2011, the mission was not to come up with new industry standards.  The mission is lowering costs through common components. How does OCP get the most out of components as possible to deliver a new “standard” for open hardware in the data center?  And it’s not necessarily relying on industry standards to make it happen.

When it comes to storage devices specifically, the ultimate goal of the SFBay Open Compute Project (OCP) Storage Meetup is to answer: where is the space to innovate the OCP spec?

You too can contribute to the discussion. Simply join this new and exciting group. If you are in the San Francisco area, join us in person.  The rest of the world, like me, can join via the web.

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