Azure GM Joins OCP Board

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The Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) announced that Microsoft Azure GM Zaid Kahn will hold a seat on its board. Kahn replaces Kushagra Vaid, who has served over the past year. Vaid had been engaged with OCP since 2014 and previously served on the OCP Incubation Committee for several years.

Kahn joins board members Andy Bechtolsheim, Jim Hawkins (Rackspace), Partha Ranganathan (Google), Rebecca Weekly (Intel), Rocky Bullock (OCP) and Mark Roenigk (Facebook), who serves as Chairman.

Kahn is a General Manager in Microsoft’s Azure division where he leads a team focusing on advanced architecture and engineering efforts for Microsoft’s AI infrastructure. Zaid is part of the technical leadership team that sets AI hardware strategy for training and inference. Zaid’s team is also responsible for software and hardware engineering efforts developing specialized compute systems, FPGA network products and advanced network switch technologies in the 400/800G space.

“When you want to go fast and solve a specific problem you go alone, but when you want to go big you go together and I realized that having a strong foundation sets up everyone for that success. There will be many standards and projects in the future that will spring up causing some fragmentation in the open hardware/infrastructure space and we as OCP can help bring people together with our vast community to solve problems together,” said Kahn.

Prior to Microsoft Kahn was head of infrastructure at LinkedIn where he was responsible for all aspects of architecture and engineering for datacenters, networking, compute, storage and hardware. He also led several software development teams focusing on building and managing infrastructure as code. This included zero touch provisioning, software-defined networking, network operating systems (SONiC, OpenSwitch), self-healing networks, backbone controller, software defined storage and distributed host-based firewalls. The network teams Kahn led built the global network for LinkedIn, including POP’s, peering for edge services, IPv6 implementation, DWDM infrastructure and datacenter network fabric. The hardware and datacenter engineering teams he led were responsible for water cooling to the racks, optical fiber infrastructure and open hardware development that was contributed to the Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP), a collaborative community focused on redesigning hardware technology to efficiently support the growing demands on compute infrastructure.

Kahn holds several patents in networking and, is a sought-after keynote speaker at top tier conferences and events. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Physics from the University of the South Pacific.

“It’s our pleasure to add Zaid Khan to the OCP Board of Directors and we are looking forward to his contributions to the continued success of OCP. Zaid understands the challenges of collaborative designs and enabling a supply chain that can meet the needs of the segment. He has experienced first-hand that even the best design can’t influence an industry without the right mix of engineering support, industry momentum, product availability and a highly reliable supply chain” comments Mark Roenigk, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

“Zaid has unique experience that he brings to the Board. First, he comes from LinkedIn where they underwent a transformation from being a colo customer to managing their own infrastructure, and recognized the need for new cloud optimized hardware and to break away from traditional OEM 2U general purpose servers. This transformation is exactly what fortune 100 enterprise companies are going through today,” states Rocky Bullock, CEO for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

This news comes as OCP plans for the upcoming 2021 OCP Global Summit, taking place the week of November 8, 2021 in San Jose California. It will be a three day ”hybrid” event, allowing for both in-person attendance and virtual participation. Learn more here:

The Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) was initiated in 2011 with a mission to apply the benefits of open source and open collaboration to hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in, near and around the data center’s networking equipment, general purpose and GPU servers, storage devices and appliances, and scalable rack designs. OCP’s collaboration model is being applied beyond the data center, helping to advance the telecom industry & EDGE infrastructure.