Open Source hardware needs a supply chain

INDUSTRY HP 1The Open Compute Project, which wants to open up hardware the same way Linux opened up software, needs a supply chain badly.

OCP President and Chairman Frank Frankovsky said it formed OCP four years ago to spread the gospel of open hardware and eventually build a market for it.

It now has an impressive array of vendors and customers, including HP, Cisco, Juniper, Broadcom, and Samsung.

While companies looking to adopt this kind of gear include some blue-chip names Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Capital One are members, the weakness in the set up is the supply chain.

You can’t download servers or boxes in the same way you can open source software,” Frankovsky said.

OCP is looking to business realities when members propose new contributions to the project. It wants the name of a lead customer that wants to buy the technology and the lead supplier that’s willing to build it, as well as whether it’s available from multiple channels so users will have a choice of where to buy it, he said.