When you think about the Web it can get you down, ads, explicit content, malicious software, misleading information and all the other content that proves humans are weird and mean-minded creatures. That is one way to look at the Web, the other way is that it has become the best channel for many individuals and organisation to perpetuate innovative, interesting and life-improving ideas.
One group called ‘open compute project’ are working with Facebook to build one of the most energy efficient computing infrastructures able to run the whole Facebook empire. The project is complete and the Facebook company will switch to the new system later this April. The data centre is full of vanity free servers which boasts to be 38% more efficient and 24% less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centres such as those run by Google and Microsoft.
The cool thing about ‘open compute project’, as you may have heard, is that all the technology behind making this new data centre possible is freely available online. Normally this kind of data is kept top secret in the hope that competitors will not benefit from your hard work. In this case the engineers behind the new Facebook data centre want other companies to follow suit and build energy efficient infrastructures to save energy and reduce the environmental impact of the Internet. For those that didn’t know the carbon footprint of the Internet will soon overtake that of the aviation industry.
It is super interesting go to http://opencompute.org/ to find out more.
On the site it has full designs and specifications for the servers and the data centre they are housed in. One interesting design worth noting is the lack of chiller units to cool the air flowing past the servers, this alone saves massive amounts of energy. The new technology harnesses air from the outside to flow over foam pads moistened by water sprays to cool by evaporation. The building itself is positioned so that prevailing winds direct outside air into the building in both winter and summer.
The open compute project had this to say:
“By releasing Open Compute Project technologies as open hardware, our goal is to develop servers and data centers following the model traditionally associated with open source software projects.
Our first step is releasing the specifications and mechanical drawings. The second step is working with the community to improve them.”
Let’s hope the climate of information sharing continues and the world benefits from such actions.