The Open Compute Project Foundation recently announced results from Facebook's attempts to build an efficient data center at the lowest possible cost. The foundation claims to have reduced the cost of building a data center by 24 percent and improved ongoing efficiency by 38 percent versus state-of-the-art data centers.
Those numbers are impressive, but don't expect to be able to deploy the foundation's technology in your data center just yet.
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Bringing deep data center engineering skills to the masses
By releasing Facebook's cost savings and, more important, the underlying hardware specifications for the motherboards, power supply, and chassis, the foundation hopes to bring efficiency and lower-cost data centers to companies that don't have the engineering depth of Facebook, Google, or Amazon.com.
Facebook deserves kudos for its work on the project. Getting together a board of directors that includes Andy Bechtolsheim from Arista Networks, Don Duet from Goldman Sachs, Mark Roenigk from Rackspace, and Jason Waxman from Intel couldn't have been easy. But the cost reduction and efficiency figures upward of 20 percent must have attracted attention from prospective board members and the long list of hardware, software, and institutional partners, including Dell, Intel, Huawei, Red Hat, Netflix, and North Carolina Sate University.
The Open Compute Project released its design specifications for servers and data center technology earlier this week. The servers themselves fit into a form factor that is slightly taller than a 1.5U standard server chassis. The servers can use either Intel or AMD motherboards. The version 2.0 Intel specification provides double the compute density as version 1.0 by using two Intel Core "Sandy Bridge" processors per board. The version 2.0 AMD specification also doubles the compute density with support for two AMD Opteron "Magny-Cours" or "Interlagos" processors per board.