Facebook and corporate marketing, for sure but helping IT? Yes, and not charging for it.
I wrote in my last book about Facebook’s massive efficiencies in its data center in Prineville, Oregon and how it had started to share specs around its low-vanity servers, cooling philosophy etc. through its Open Compute standards. It keeps raising the bar, and as it opens its data center in Luleå, Sweden, BusinessWeek writes:
Executives from Intel and Goldman Sachs have joined the board of the Open Compute Project’s foundation, a 501(c)(6) corporation chaired by Facebook’s Frankovsky. Taiwanese hardware makers such as Quanta Computer and Tyan Computer have started selling systems based on Open Compute designs. Facilities on the scale of Luleå, which can cost as much as $300 million to build, will continue to be outliers, but companies of all sizes can take advantage of the cheaper, more power-efficient equipment.
HP has responded by unveiling a server and networking system called Moonshot, which runs on extremely low-power chips and stands as the company’s most radical data center advance in years.
The other area where Facebook has helped IT is in showing the path to truly Big Data. Its massive data store of over 100 petabytes of data uses open source Hadoop, Hive and HBase tools. It provides corporate IT a context to evaluate enterprise tools which tackle a tiny fraction of that data size and still call themselves “Big Data” and expect obnoxious economics for that.
Clearly Facebook has made these investments for its own operational efficiency. But how many other entities, particularly in tech, share such insight without charging premium prices for it?