Facebook Shares Data Center Design Secrets

Add Your Comments

–- Social media giant Facebook (www.facebook.com) announced on Thursday it has launched the Open Compute Project, an initiative to share the custom-engineered technology in its first dedicated data center in Prineville, Oregon.

This advanced technology delivered a 38 percent increase in energy efficiency at 24 percent lower cost for Facebook.

Now, the social media firm will share the specifications and best practices behind this data center technology to companies across the industry.

Last August, Facebook announced it would double the size of the Prineville data center before the first phase was even constructed.

“Facebook and our development partners have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past two years to build upon industry specifications to create the most efficient computing infrastructure possible,” says Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations at Facebook. “These advancements are good for Facebook, but we think they could benefit all companies. Today we’re launching the Open Compute Project, a user-led forum, to share our designs and collaborate with anyone interested in highly efficient server and data center designs. We think it’s time to demystify the biggest capital expense of an online business — the infrastructure.”

Facebook is publishing technical specifications and mechanical CAD files for the Prineville data center’s servers, power supplies, server racks, battery backup systems and building design.

This technology helped the Facebook data center to achieve an initial power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.07, which is significant when compared to its other facilities, which averaged about a 1.5.

Facebook is now publishing these designs as open hardware in an effort to encourage industry-wide collaboration around best practices for data center and server technology.

The technology was a team-driven effort, having been co-developed by Facebook and companies like Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, HP and Intel.

Dell’s data center solutions business will design and build servers based on the Open Compute Project specification, while Synnex will serve as a vendor for Open Compute Project servers.

To put things into perspective, if a quarter of the data center capacity in the US were built on Open Compute Project specifications, it would “save enough energy to power more than 160,000 homes,” says Facebook.

Energy savings aside, Open Compute Project hardware also ensures that data center infrastructure costs 24 percent less to build out than Facebook’s existing data centers.

Servers are also low on materials, which of course, cuts down on costs. Using a vanity-free design, the servers are void of any paint, logos, stickers, or front panel, as well as any non-essential parts.

As a result, companies will be able to save more than six pounds of materials per server, which amounts to more than 120 tons of material from being manufactured, transported, and discarded. for each data center.

Facebook is publishing specifications and mechanical designs for Open Compute Project hardware, including motherboards, power supply, server chassis, and server and battery cabinets.

In addition, Facebook is making available its data center electrical and mechanical construction specifications.

Environmental organization Greenpeace recently took another shot at Facebook, running an ad that urged the company to “unfriend coal” power in the Oregon data center by Earth Day on April 22.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)