Monthly Archives: July 2014
You just may be able to trace the open hardware concept back to 1911, when Henry Ford led a standardization effort that brought about the Automobile Manufacturers Association, which allowed license-free sharing of patents among automakers. That doesn’t mean the big automakers liked each other and didn’t engage in a bit of back stabbing. However, the patent-sharing agreement helped them all by contributing to the eventual commonality in function, safety elements, and size that marked the growth of the auto industry. Think of basics such as the use of four tire-equipped wheels and the accelerator on the right.
Facebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP) switch, code-named Wedge, likely won’t displace entrenched networking vendors like Cisco. But here’s why it will be revolutionary: It addresses the need for application-specific networking. Wedge uses commodity hardware in the form of a microserver plus an open-source operating system code-named FBOSS. Wedge and FBOSS give networking teams the flexibility to create custom switching platforms for specific uses, from both the hardware and software aspects.
Facebook’s Forest City, North Carolina data center isn’t “cool” just because of the outside-air economizer or the colorful local art in the offices. The cool part is the Open Compute Project racks, servers and other equipment — all of which could be in your data center in the future. “Open source is the way to go,” said Keven McCammon, data center manager for the location. “We’ve seen that in the software side of IT — you get more out of it than you individually put in.”
Open-source principles have contributed to US$1.2bn in IT cost savings at Facebook through the commoditisation of enterprise hardware and switches, the social network’s programme manager John Kenevey said. Kenevey was in Dublin earlier this week to address the Open Tech Ireland gathering on SDN technology, presented in co-operation with the Irish Software Association, Intune Networks, KEMP Technologies, and Sanctum Networks.
Instagram announced last week that it’s picked up its billions of images stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and dumped them into Facebook’s own servers in one of the largest data migration operations ever undertaken. News of the move came from this interview with Facebook infrastructure engineer and Open Compute Foundation program developer Charlie Manese. Manese revealed that the massive migration took about a year to organize and an additional month to carry out. As a result of moving onto Facebook’s infrastructure, Instagram now uses about a third fewer servers, something that significantly reduces its operating costs, Manese notes.
Optical storage has also been used for long-term data retention and environmental stress tests indicate that the latest generation of Blu-ray optical media should have an expected life-time of at least several decades. At the Creative Storage Conference Bill Cubellis from Sony said that properly made archival grade optical discs should have a shelf life of 50 years. At the Open Compute Project Summit in January 2014 Facebook presented a 1 PB Blu-ray disc storage system prototype with 10,000 discs. Facebook estimated that this system would reduce the storage costs by 50% and the energy consumption by 80% compared to their current cold storage system (probably HDD based).