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Guide to Facebook’s Open Source Data Center Hardware
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

Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking giant is the world’s biggest open source hardware design factory

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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