SAN JOSE – Facebook struck an alliance with China’s Tencent and Baidu to merge separate designs for data center racks. The move is one small step toward the social networking giant’s goal of a broad data center specification.
At a summit event in San Antonio, Facebook announced it is working with the two China Web service providers to converge their server rack design called Project Scorpio with Facebook’s Open Rack spec. The trio expects to have a single spec available in 2013.
The effort is apparently focused on the rack itself, the mechanical enclosure which contains the servers, storage, switches and wiring in a large Web 2.0 data center. Separately Facebook announced several companies are developing data center systems based around the specs emerging from its Open Compute Project (OCP) launched in April 2011.
Specifically, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are developing new server and storage designs, code-named Project Coyote and Zeus respectively, compatible with the Open Rack specification. In addition, AMD and Intel are developing motherboard designs, code-named Roadrunner and Decathlete respectively, based on the group’s specs and targeted at financial services companies.
AMD said Roadrunner will use its Opteron 6000 Series processors on 16x16.5-inch motherboards coming in a variety of configurations including support for 1 to 3U rack sizes.
Facebook is one of many large data center owners trying to define optimal electronic and mechanical designs for its large data centers to drive economies of scale. To that end, it has been more public than its Web 2.0 competitors about its data center designs. So far, most efforts have been driven by individual companies that are large enough to attract companies to develop custom servers for them.
Google has been defining its own data center server design for many years, focusing on a streamlined, low cost design that uses minimal power. Microsoft also defines a server spec that OEMs make for the company’s data centers.
Recently, Google disclosed it has also designed a network switch for its data centers based on the emerging OpenFlow specification it also helped define.
Elsewhere on the software front, VMware, DDN and Canonical announced certification programs that will guarantee select versions of their software products will run on systems built to the OCP specs. Members of Facebook’s Open Compute Project include AMD, Alibaba, Avnet, Canonical, DDN, Fidelity, HP, Quanta, Salesforce.com, Supermicro,Tencent, VMware, Vantage and ZT Systems.
More than 500 people are attending an OCP summit now being held in San Antonio, Texas. Sessions from the summit can be viewed live online.