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Facebook's open-source data-center project gains strength

Agam Shah | May 3, 2012
Facebook's year-old project to develop open-source hardware designs with the aim to build efficient data centers gained momentum on Wednesday, with some top technology companies joining the effort and introducing server designs.

The OCP standards body should also benefit the participating companies, King said. By introducing new server designs based on Open Rack, HP and Dell now have the opportunity to design and meet the server specifications of potentially large customers like Google that would otherwise get their servers third-party contract manufacturers like Quanta.

AMD targeted financial services firms with its new motherboard designs, said Vlad Rozanovich, AMD vice president of commercial business for the Americas. Financial services companies usually deploy servers for transaction processing or internal clouds, and AMD's motherboard designs are easy to customize.

Every motherboard can't be "one size-fits all," especially for the financial services industry, Rozanovich said.

"One thing we wanted to do is remove things that are not necessary," Rozanovich said.

Wall Street companies also typically want in-house server management, and one of AMD's modifications involved stripping management components from the motherboard, Rozanovich said. Some motherboards include components to remotely manage servers, and simplified boards gives financial services better control and management over servers.

The baseline hardware implemented by the financial services community is already very similar, and the open-source motherboard spec could make servers easier and less expensive to manage and deploy over time.

"If there can be community development that is not proprietary, it can benefit everybody," Rozanovich said.

 

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