Monthly Archives: June 2012
Facebook’s Open Compute Project is, on the surface, specifications for servers, racks, cooling and power distribution planned for its data centers. Somewhat surprisingly, the project continues to evolve and produce more specifications. In my view, it’s a business initiative that drives cheaper procurement of data center hardware assets for Facebook. Sure, Facebook hopes other companies will use this as a jumping-off point for their own data center initiatives.
HP is in a tough position when it comes to cloud customers, and its low-power high-density Gemini server acknowledges that. Gemini, with its ability to support multiple processors of multiple generations via different “server cartridges”, sees HP take a new approach with its servers, placing the emphasis on maintainability, serviceability and, crucially, support for the types of energy thrifty non-x86 chips made by Intel-rival ARM. It is part of the company’s Project Moonshot effort, which sees the giant cosy up to large cloud operators by committing to the development of very dense, very low-cost servers.
MENLO PARK, Calif. €” A little over a year after Facebook launched its Open Compute Project, organizers of the unusual open-source hardware and software initiative report that it is gaining traction among a large number of companies big and small. Turns out most enterprises want to save money, power from the walls and staff time. The Open Compute Project (OCP), based on much of the Facebook data center architecture and server design schemes, aims to do precisely that. But to get any project off the ground, it takes old-fashioned selling and recruiting.
The success of Open Source Software is now beginning to influence how people approach hardware too. Get ready for an equivalent revolution on the hardware side. Open Source hardware (OSHW) follows the same philosophy and licensing of technical information for how to build hardware. OSHW covers the licensing of mechanical drawings, schematics, PCB layouts, HDL source code, data for integrated cirguit layout, and any other technical data or information needed to build and construct hardware.
Facebook’s giant user base of 901 million is served by an equally impressive number of servers, data centers and assorted networking and storage gear. And unlike Google, which also has built its own hardware designed to promote its infrastructure advantage, Facebook has taken steps to open much of its thinking on hardware IP to the world, creating the Open Compute Project.