Like rival Google, Facebook has built thousands of low-frills, energy-efficient servers to supports its operations. But unlike Google, which closely guards details of its infrastructure, Facebook made specifications to build such machines available to open source developers under the Open Compute Project. Any industry vendor can use Facebook’s reference designs, which cover servers, power supplies, server racks and data centers, to build their own products.
The Open Compute Project also details how to create energy-efficient facilities. For example, Facebook’s Prineville, Ore. data center, which is based on Open Compute designs, reuses hot air drawn from the building’s aisles to heat the offices and the outside air flowing into the data center. The company claimed this facility uses 38% less energy to do the same work as Facebook’s existing data centers. And it costs 24% less to run than other Facebook facilities. So the project may also serve as a template for how CIOs plan their future data centers.