Facebook Announces Open Compute: Shares the Design Specs of its Servers and Datacenters

Facebook today announced that it will share the design specs for the servers and datacenters that power its service with anybody who is interested. As the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted at today’s presentation, Facebook’s products and infrastructure are intimately linked. Without enough capacity in its datacenters, Facebook (and other companies) can’t push out new, compute-intensive features. Caching, storage and serving up webpages all have different requirements when it comes to the servers that run them. Over time, though, Zuckerberg pointed out, Facebook noticed that it needed to customize its servers and datacenters to power its software instead of just using off-the-shelf hardware from OEMs.

Thanks to customizing its hardware, as Facebook’s technical director Jonathan Heiliger Facebook managed to reduce the power requirements of its first own datacenter in Prineville, OR down significantly compared to the industry average. Among the innovations in the datacenter design is the fact that the facility is cooled with nothing but outside air – no expensive and power-hungry air conditioners are used.

Facebook is making the CAD files for the chassis, the design specs of its power supply and other information available to anybody in the server and datacenter community with the hopes that they can improve on Facebook’s own ideas. As Heiliger noted in a pre-recorded video, sharing information is the norm in software design but not when it comes to hardware.

Here are some of the key slides from the presentation with additional technical information: