A collage of profile pictures makes up a wall in the break room at Facebook's data center in Forest City, North Carolina. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

Guide to Facebook’s Open Source Data Center Hardware

When Facebook rolled out the Open Compute Project in 2011, it started somewhat of a revolution in the data center market. In a way, that revolution had already been going on; Google had figured out it was better off designing its own hardware than buying off-the-shelf products from the top vendors, and some time had passed since Facebook reached that point too.

But OCP, the now non-profit organization that aggregates open source hardware and data center designs and promotes applying the open source software ethos to the world of hardware, has become a hub of sorts, where vendors and operators of some of the world’s largest data centers come together to build the next wave of internet infrastructure driven by actual specific requirements of the data center operators rather than vendors’ own ideas about market needs.

Both Microsoft and Apple have joined OCP, and Microsoft has already contributed multiple cloud server designs to the open repository. Google joined this year, announcing it would contribute a data center rack and power distribution design it has been using in its facilities. A host of telcos are involved, as they transform their infrastructure to support Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization, and some of the biggest financial services firms, who need more computing capacity today than they’ve ever needed in history and are looking for the most cost effective ways to build out that infrastructure.

Read more: What Enterprise Data Center Managers Can Learn from Web Giants

Facebook of course was the first contributor of intellectual property to the open source project and has contributed more designs of servers, electrical infrastructure components, network hardware, and software than any other company.

Here’s a guide to all the Facebook data center hardware contributed so far:

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About the Author

Data Center Knowledge is a leading online source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry. We cover a wide scope. Areas of coverage include advancements in power and cooling technology, processor and server architecture, networks, storage, the colocation industry, managed services and cloud, as well as developments in the modern web-scale data center space.

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  1. Dan Nordmann

    Excellent Article! OCP is an organic development of the internet that simply expresses the fabric of the web itself. The Telecom Infra Project is exciting as well. Thank you for the aritcle.

  2. Good feature on OCP and well done. Should any readers based in Europe which to know more about OCP then I am the OCP Foundations European Representative and here to help. john.laban@opencompute.org