It's fascinating to see the computer industry move back to centralized architectures after the great PC decentralization that started in the 1980's. Hopefully this is going to drive a new round of networking infrastructure buildout to provide the communications necessary to support this move.
It is interesting that Google is going into social networking and Facebook is going into data center. When will we see next move of Apple that do something totally different? These 3 companies often give the public shocks and it seems only these 3 companies are dare to think wild.
A Facebook spokesman sent me the following note late Friday: "an engineering blog post with a summary and some more details about the Open Compute server.
There will be another post on Monday covering the data center architecture and specifications."
This move surprises and impresses me. I hadn't heard of any hardware effort at Facebook before this... They have become more intrenched into most people's daily lives than Google ever was. They are will positioned to profit. I accidentally click on more adverts in FB than on purpose Google..
It's not clear yet whether Facebook is a viable competitive entity. Right now Facebook is still a profit-less, private venture, funded by the likes of Goldman Sachs. Does this relationship with GS suggest Facebook is some kind of massive ponzi scheme to bilk investors? I don't know, but having them drive hardware markets to a specific commodity standard is not necessarily a good idea for US engineers or US competitiveness, particularly when Microsoft and Google, who do make profits and really are in competitive markets, seem to have reservations. Beware of startup companies bearing gifts, regardless of their purported size. Bernie Madoff was really big too, until his ponzi scheme collapsed.
The Facebook design includes a data center that brings 480/277 VAC power direct to the server power supply, eliminating up to four power conversion steps that waste nine to fifteen percent of power.
Yes, Facebook is making full schematics of the boards and power supplies available, even CAD drawings of the chassis and rack it designed. If they get others to buy these parts, raising volumes and lowering prices for Facebook, it will be worth it to them.
I wonder till which level is this open spec.? Does this all mean the hardware electrical schematics will be available for anyone to manufacture?
The approach seems very original. It's an unexpected news coming from a social networking giant. Looks like Facebook doesn't want to stay put but actually to expand in any direction possible. I'm with that! Will be interesting to see if the Facebook data centers become the standard within some years.