Facebook Open-Sources Efficient Design

Facebook is open-sourcing data center and hardware design for its new data center in Prineville, Oregon--aiming to be the most energy-efficient data center in the world.

The Prineville data center has a power usage efficiency rating of 1.07, which means that its power supply is “over 94.5% efficient.” To put this achievement in context, the EPA has defined industry best practice as a rating of 1.5! They’ve removed many components of traditional design for lighter, cheaper, more efficient servers.

Although there is growing interest in efficient data centers and greater openness in the industry, Facebook’s initiative may be the first to share detailed design specifications, available on The Open Compute Project.

Facebook’s Open Compute Project is an exciting combination of CSR, open data and engagement. By opening up design details, Facebook aims to “create a community around these problems,” leading to better work toward greater economic and energy efficiency.

On the Open Compute website, you can read hundreds of comments from industry professionals—many eager to incorporate Facebook’s creative approach into their own companies. In this first phase, Facebook has partnered with industry leaders such as AMD and Intel, as well as local resources such as the Oregon State University Open Source Lab.

Although questions about the greater environmental sustainability of Facebook’s new data center remain, this initiative is a great step towards greater efficiency and openness in the industry -- “by getting more people to think about how infrastructure works.”

Photo credit: Cory Doctorow