The initiative, launched in April, aims to encourage collaboration on hardware development and implementation to speed up innovation. This week Facebook announced the formation of a foundation to lead the project, published bylaws detailing how projects will be proposed, evaluated and supported, and named an initial list of directors and advisers. These include Andy Bechtolsheim from Arista Networks, Don Duet from Goldman Sachs, Frank Frankovsky from Facebook, Mark Roenigk from Rackspace and Jason Waxman from Intel.
Companies joining the initiative so far include hardware suppliers ASUS, Mellanox, and Huawei; software suppliers Red Hat, Cloudera and Future Facilities; enablers DRT, Hyve (Synnex), Nebula, Chinese search engine Baidu, and Silicon Mechanics; and data center users consumers NTT Data, Tivit and Goldman Sachs. Institutions participating include Georgia Tech University, North Carolina State University, and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
As promised in the spring, Facebook has published specifications and mechanical designs for a variety of components, including motherboards, power supply units, chassis, triplet racks, and battery cabinets.
The rationale behind the project likely goes beyond sustainability, the New York Times says. Google – now a direct Facebook competitor, after the launch of the Google+ social networking site – has long been secretive about its data center designs, and treats them as crucial intellectual property. By combining forces with companies like Intel and Dell, Facebook may be hoping to diminish Google’s hardware advantages.
In related news, Facebook also announced that construction is underway on a data center in Lulea, northern Sweden. Investment agency Invest Sweden said the electricity supply in that location has the capacity to be drawn from 100 percent renewable resources, and will allow Facebook to reduce its reliance on backup generators by 70 percent. The climate will also allow Facebook to use 100 percent outside air for cooling.