Peter Krey, Co-Chair of Open Compute (OCP) Open Networking, Co-Founder of Open InfraShare, and President & Founder, Krey Associates, Inc.

 

As Kyle has heard me blast nearly a zillion times, Khan Academy totally rocks!  For the first time ever, Khan Academy provides free and open access to an amazing range and growing group of self-learning resources.

 

Starting at 3rd grade basics scaling all the way up to college high-level subjects, the site’s categories include Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Computer Programming, Cryptography, and many many more.

 

 And within each category, there are dozens of freely accessible self-education videos with extremely high quality content. For people of all ages and educational backgrounds, Khan Academy is absolutely awesome.

 

To quote Salman Khan, "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere."  

 

 

So with the above context in mind, now transition to the world of Enterprise IT.  Imagine if Enterprise IT could also begin getting educational access to something analogously broad, open, and super high-quality -- a place to learn from the incredibly innovative world of open and hyperscale infrastructure technologists.

 

 

The goal of the above fictitious hyperscale subject tab on the Khan Academy home page is just to be an attention getter and idea generator.  In essence, the core issue is the Enterprise IT world could hugely benefit to begin learning from something analogous to the Khan Academy from the open technology and hyperscale infrastructure worlds.

 

Luckily the hyperscale and innovators community have already begun something analogous.  While not nearly on par with Khan Academy, feels like we’re on the way.  Two key initial sample areas to explore:

 

First and foremost is the Open Compute Project (http://www.opencompute.org/), initiated by Facebook & others 3 years ago.  To quote the web site “We decided to honor our hacker roots and challenge convention by custom designing and building our software, servers and data centers from the ground up – and then share these technologies as they evolve.”

 

Luckily for Enterprise IT technologists, we can now freely and openly read tons about open networking switches, servers, open racks, storage, hardware management, power supplies, chassis, data center designs, and many others.

 

Lots of educational materials are up on the site, including specification documents, Gerber and mechanical files, CAD design files via the 6SigmaViewer, schematics, and others.

 

You can also find lots of YouTube videos on this.  For example, see “OCP Summit V: Keynote Videos”

http://www.opencompute.org/blog/ocp-summit-v-keynote-videos/

 

Most recently, open networking hardware and software technologies are also part of the Open Compute Project.  Since starting the Open Networking project at MIT in May / 2013, there’s been a series of 3+ open switch hardware design vendor contributions, the Open Network Linux (ONL) distro from Big Switch Networks, Facebook’s recent announcement on building its own switch hardware (Wedge), components of their own switch software stack (FBOSS), and others.

 

In a nutshell, having a series of open switch hardware designs and Linux based operating systems, open developer tools, and corresponding technical design information is a giant step forward.

 

Second is Open InfraShare, the non-vendor collaborative community of Enterprise IT thought leaders, influencers, and innovators. 

 

Inspired by Web Monsters, imagine an initial subset of the Enterprise IT community sharing educational presentations and technical How-To information at invitation-only events, How-To Guides, GitHub repositories, etc.  And potentially upcoming future YouTube videos :-)

 

To be “Captain Obvious”, in my opinion, the hyperscale community has outpaced the incumbent IT providers with their own massive advances in compute, storage technologies, networking, data center, and more upcoming technologies.  The Enterprise IT community is finally beginning to explore and catch on.

 

So where else can an Enterprise IT professional that wants to learn about innovative & disruptive technology ideas pioneered by the hyperscale community guys?  Here are a few more ideas:

First, spend time with startups who themselves are part of the growing open community around open innovation and hyperscale design.  Talk directly to their developers & engineers who are helping move these forward.

Unlike a large incumbent, these guys often share & evangelize not only their own open technologies, but open hyperscale design in general that go well beyond a product sale.

Second, if you’re an Enterprise IT technologist, get connected, participate, and contribute to things like Open Compute Foundation, Open InfraShare, and others.

Third, get involved in open hardware & software community group effort groups.  And seek out organizations that provide education & independence to users & Enterprise IT pros.   Seek them out, participate and contribute.  

Thanks for reading, and good luck in learning more !