Microsoft is known for being a lot of things, but "open" is something that's found at the bottom of most hypothetical lists. However, the company has been willing to make some exceptions to that rule when either internal or both internal and external benefits can be seen, and we're seeing a new example of that with the company's latest move of joining the Open Compute Project.
The OCP was founded in 2011 by Facebook with the intent of building a pool of great minds (and companies as a whole) to share their data center and server designs. The goal is to increase efficiency and support the kind of accelerating scaling-up requirements we're witnessing. Any company that partakes in this project benefits everyone else involved, and hopefully, the wealth of information will treat our data centers to unparalleled levels of efficiency in the near-future - important given just how power-hungry they are.
As a result of its joining the OCP, Microsoft will be sharing the designs for its cloud servers that power Office 365, Bing, and Azure, and includes hardware specs, design files and even source code for system management (which will be publicly shared on GitHub).
Color me impressed. These are incredible assets for Microsoft to let loose, and it goes to show just how seriously the company is taking the OCP and the future of the data center. It's far too early to speculate just how the OCP will affect the data center landscape, but it's going to be a fun story to see play out.