Open Compute: taking aim at Google?

April 8, 2011: 12:32 PM ET

Facebook's new cheap, fast, green data center is really a free blueprint for companies that want to chip away at Google's computing advantage. Including Facebook.

Facebook's Open Compute Project

Facebook's Open Compute Project

By Dan Mitchell, contributor

The data center business, as it currently exists, is a little too much like  "Fight Club" (The first rule of servers: you do not talk about our  servers) says Facebook's Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of  technical operations.

For that reason, Facebook will share the  designs for its new, innovative data center in Oregon with any company  that wants to use them, or to improve upon them. Given the companies  it worked with – Dell, AMD, Intel (INTC) and others -- it looks as though data  centers are going open source.

The company on Thursday unveiled its Open Compute Project during an event at its Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters. The center and  the servers it houses were designed in-house by Facebook to save energy and costs. As impressive as the designs are, only a company  like Facebook could pull off-putting on such a big show to unveil a data center. Hundreds of reporters and others were on hand for the  announcement. A video was shown that included heart-tugging, almost  maudlin music played over sweeping shots of motherboards and server  racks as if they were breathtaking mountain vistas. The company had  shrouded the event in mystery, perhaps knowing that data center talks don't normally set (non-geeky) hearts pounding. More

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