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Intel, Dell Join Facebook’s Efficiency Project

Intel, Dell, Mozilla, Rackspace and Netflix have all joined Facebook’s Open Compute Project, which aims to increase efficiencies and reduce the environmental impacts of data centers.

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.

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2 thoughts on “Intel, Dell Join Facebook’s Efficiency Project

  1. This is an excellent initiative!!! We must also focus on the efficient engineering of software code. It is amazing what some of our young computer scientists can do with the efficient writing or re-writing of code. Every time we do not have to process bits and bytes due to great engineering in software there is an exponential gain in energy and carbon reduction.

    David Podmayersky
    Sustainability Director

  2. Wonderful news. Companies are now trying to out-do each other on sustainability standards and in the end, the planet wins. We’re hitting the 7 billion mark pretty soon and I’m wondering how we can continue with our current lifestyle. We need to make changes and we need to make them NOW. This are the first babysteps in a long journey to living a truly sustainable life.

    Juan Miguel Ruiz (GreenJoyment)

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