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Facebook To Tackle Open Source Storage Hardware

Facebook Green Data Centre Building 43 Prineville
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Social networking site plans to build own storage hardware to handle growing number of user uploads

Facebook has revealed that it is building its own storage hardware to cope with the mass of data uploaded by its 845 million users.

The initiative is part of the social networking site’s Open Compute Project, launched last year to share high-efficiency data centre hardware specifications designed by Facebook and other Open Compute partners.

Open source hardware

Facebook has previously built its own data centre in Oregon, making its plans for the building’s server hardware open source and placing an emphasis on reduced power consumption and lower costs. The move into storage, though positive from the social media giant, was criticised by Greenpeace for not combatting carbon emissions in a direct enough manner with a shift towards renewables.

“We’re taking the same approach we took with servers: eliminate anything that’s not directly adding value,” Frank Frankovsky, director of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook, told Wired. “The really valuable part of storage is the disk drive itself and the software that controls how the data gets distributed to and recovered from those drives. We want to eliminate any ancillary components around the drive — and make it more serviceable.”

Facebook has announced that plans for their storage hardware will be shared at the Open Compute Summit in early May.

Wired reports that 50 per cent of contributions to the Open Compute Project now come from outside of Facebook. Since the programme’s launch last year, various companies, including Intel, Dell, Apple, Goldman Sachs and Asus, have shown interest and collaborated through Open Compute.

Frankovsky wrote in a blog last October: “What began a few short months ago as an audacious idea – what if hardware were open? – is now a fully formed industry initiative, with a clear vision, a strong base to build from and significant momentum.

“We need to continue to grow the community and enable it to take on new challenges. We need to ensure that, as the community evolves, it retains its flat structure and its merit-based approach to evaluating potential projects. And we need to keep the community focused on delivering tangible results.”

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  1. Hi,

    For Open Hardware, please use Coreboot (www.coreboot.org).

    This is my humble request.

    Thanks,
    Kiran Patil.