updated 02:10 pm EDT, Thu April 7, 2011
Facebook Open Computing Project widesn server tech
Facebook at an event at its headquarters took a very different approach to servers by launching the Open Computing Project. The effort revolves a new, custom-designed server that's designed to be both easy to fix and very green. Each is easy to get into or remove, uses "unheard of" 94.5 percent efficient power supplies, and has 22 percent less material that not only removes unneeded parts like slots but goes "vanity-free," without even so much as paint.
Combined, each design is about 38 percent more power-efficient and costs 24 percent less than a typical server. They're also "power effective" to a factor of 1.07 where the average is 1.5 and creates a significant amount of waste.
The open side comes from the nature of access to the design, down to the CAD layouts. Facebook is publishing specs for the servers and is actively encouraging companies to offer feedback or making their own adaptations. Quanta has been designing custom boards but isn't locked into a platform and is making AMD and Intel versions available.
Facebook itself has been building a datacenter in Prineville, Oregon based on OCP for about a year. About 10 to 15 organizations like Dell, RackSpace and the government are partners for the launch and have expressed an interest in using the servers for themselves, but they won't necessarily do so right away or with a straightforward implementation. The stock servers are available today; they don't have a publicly listed price yet, although Dell is rolling Facebook's technology into its servers.