Monthly Archives: October 2011
Facebook and its allies in the Open Compute Project certainly would have you believe that this is so. Right now, most server hardware vendors invest in “gratuitous differentiation” and not true innovation, according to Andy Bechtolsheim, the chief development officer for Arista Networks and co-founder of Sun Microsystems who is one of the Open Compute Project’s five newly named board members.
Frank Frankovsky, Director, Technical Operations at Facebook, talks to me about the Open Compute Project, which is a new Open Source foundation that lets companies that build data centers share their plans with each other and standardize around a very low-power data center plan. This means better services for all of us, because now companies can build highly-efficient datacenters that can pack in even more machines, which means more features for all of us.
Facebook’s Frank Frankovsky announces the formation of a non-profit foundation to oversee the Open Compute Project, which focuses on developing open source hardware designs. Photo by Colleen Miller. Is the data center industry on the verge of a revolution in which open source hardware designs transform the process of designing and building data centers? The Open Compute Project, an initiative begun in April by Facebook, is gaining partners, momentum and structure. Yesterday it unveiled a new foundation and board to shepherd the burgeoning movement.
The Facebook-led Open Compute Project is scaling up its efforts to promote open standards for very large data centers, with benefits that should trickle down to cloud computing startups and enterprises. The Open Compute Project was unveiled in April as a spinoff of Facebook’s green data center initiatives. Facebook’s initial contributions of server hardware and rack designs were based on those used in its Prineville, Ore., data center, which it says was able to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of 1.07, indicating only a small fraction of power waste. That compares with 1.5 at other Facebook facilities, which is already in the “best practice” category according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. A perfect PUE would be 1.0.
Will it be the beginning of a productive friendship? Working toward the goal of standards-based, interoperable cloud computing, the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) and Open Compute Project (OCP) launched a collaborative effort at the Intel Developer Forum 2011 to accelerate the adoption of cloud standards. The initiative also hopes to further efficient data center and infrastructure design; spur rapid hardware innovation; and encourage greater openness and industry collaboration. Intel serves as technical adviser to the ODCA. This seven-minute video (below) features Kirk Skaugen, Intel, and Frank Frankovsky, Facebook’s Open Compute lead, discussing how this partnership will benefit enterprises.
Summary: Some experts, including VMware CEO Paul Maritz, believe Facebook will have to fight a patent war if it doesn’t soon take the proper defensive measures. Relatively new Web companies such as Facebook don’t hold many patents and could soon face data-center-related legal battles. VMware CEO Paul Maritz, who has witnessed a number of patent skirmishes in the 1990s when he was at Microsoft, believes that many patent confrontations are coming, and Facebook may find itself in the midst.
Thanks for your interest in the second Open Compute Summit. The nascent Open Compute community is actively seeking participants who are passionate about making strong technical contributions to defining and delivering the most efficient server, storage and data center designs. We will have executives share the latest and greatest thoughts and innovations, and a number of community-participation sessions. We will be providing more details of the event schedule in the coming weeks.
A walk-through of Facebook’s new data center in Prineville Facebook took advantage of Prineville’s dry, desert climate to adopt unusual energy-saving features in its first company-owned data center. A simple evaporative cooling system replaced expensive chillers that most data centers use. Watch video Data centers arrived in Oregon five years ago, cloaked in mystery. There’s no hiding them now.