Facebook pushes more for datacenter innovation

Social networking giant starts foundation to support its Open Compute Project, which allows access to its datacenter hardware to spur improvements in energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Social networking giant Facebook has set up a new non-profit organization called Open Compute Foundation, in its latest effort to push for datacenter innovation and greening.

Frank Frankovsky, director of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook, said the foundation will support and oversee the company's Open Compute Project, Bloomberg reported. He announced the initiative Friday at the Open Compute Summit in New York City.

Facebook launched the Open Compute Project in April, sharing the designs and specifications of its datacenter hardware for external parties to access and improve on, so that its data centers and overall industry can benefit from the innovation.

"More openness and collaboration would likely mean a faster pace of innovation in infrastructure technology, greater accessibility to the best possible technology for us all, more efficiency in scale computing and a reduced environmental impact through the sharing of best practices," said Frankovsky, who is one of the project's founders.

He also announced the initial slate of directors and advisers of the foundation, which includes executives from Intel, Rackspace, Arista Networks and Goldman Sachs.

Frankovsky also confirmed that the company will be building its first data center outside the United States in Sweden, English daily The Guardian reported Friday.

The city of Lulea in northern Sweden, just 100km south of the Arctic Circle, was chosen because of its its access to renewable energy and cold climate crucial for keeping the servers cool, according to the report.

"This is a great step forward," Casey Harrell, Greenpeace IT analyst told Guardian.

Pointing out that the IT sector is one of the fastest-growing consumers of electricity worldwide, Harrell said Facebook taking the lead on renewable energy "could help determine whether we have a dirty cloud or not".

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