Category Archives: Open Source
Software developers obviously love open source. They get to collaborate, build on top of work already done by others instead of constantly building from scratch, and add features they need to existing solutions. Innovation often happens faster in open source communities than it does behind closed doors of corporate development departments. While software runs in data centers, data center managers’ job doesn’t usually extend much beyond making sure there is enough IT, power, and cooling capacity to support the application workloads and making sure the systems are configured and secured properly. But it isn’t going to stay this way forever.
Open source virtual machine project HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) has made a breakthrough. Facebookand WP Engine, which provides a WordPress-based content management platform, have enabled HHVM and PHP to run side by side, making HHVM more feasible for production. While the news will be of interest to developers, HHVM’s maturity is something the industry at large should take into account.
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.
Facebook just made a potentially game-changing announcement. It got less fanfare than Tuesday’s announcement that it is going into the social search business, but this other announcement may have bigger long-term implications for the technology industry. Put simply, some of the world’s biggest computing systems just got a little cheaper, and a lot easier to configure. As a consequence, the companies that supply the hardware to these systems may have to scramble to remain as profitable. The reason is a Facebook-led open source project.
Facebook’s Open Compute Project, a huge effort to create and promote open-source hardware, is hosting its first-ever hardware hackathon. The hackathon will take place next month in Santa Clara, Calif., at the OCP’s Open Compute Summit. The hackathon’s goal is to create a set of open-source computer hardware building blocks — kind of like Lego for computing. These blocks would eventually be applied to real-world use cases in large data centers in ways that would boost energy efficiency, make repairs simpler, and reduce overall data center costs.
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.
The Facebook Open Compute story is a pretty clear effort to position itself as a leader in open data center design. But it also provides a way for it to show enterprise operators the way it manages data volumes that rival any data center operation in the world. Yesterday at the Intel Developer Forum, Facebook and Intel announced that the OpenCompute project would work with the Open Data Center Alliance, the network of enterprise customers and service providers that are developing standards for the way data centers are built and operated. The move is interesting for a few reasons.
After launching an open server and data center design in April, Facebook is prepping for version 2.0 of its hardware, and huge server buyers are playing along. Within three months, a foundation supporting the program will be created, according to Frank Frankovsky, Facebook’s director of hardware and supply chain. From Rackspace to major financial services companies, big hardware buyers are getting into Open Compute: testing the hardware and suggesting changes to help fuel its adoption.
Last week, Facebook’s Open Compute Project unveiled the details of its energy efficient server design, power systems and evaporative cooling system for its new data center in Prineville, Ore. That’s a lot of valuable intellectual property, and opening it up could push other data center giants in the field — notably Google, which has kept much of its efficient data center IP under tight wraps — to open theirs up as well. But how much is all of this information worth to data center operators?