Facebook makes data centers greener and cheaper

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The Independent Online

Facebook on Thursday presented an Internet-obsessed world with a gift - greener, cheaper data centers to more efficiently power online services.

The social networking star custom-designed hardware, power supply, and architecture of a new US data center that is 38 percent more power efficient and costs 24 percent less to build than the industry average.

Schematics and designs for Facebook's revolutionary data center in the Oregon city of Prineville were made available to the world as part of an Open Compute Project announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"We found a lot of stuff mass manufacturers were putting out wasn't what we needed, so we customized it to better fit social applications," Zuckerberg said during a press conference at Facebook's campus in Palo Alto, California.

"We are trying to foster this ecosystem where developers can easily build startups."

A shift to hosting software applications as services in the Internet "cloud" is driving enormous growth of data centers globally, according to Graham Watson, chairman and founder of US computer network hosting giant Rackspace.

Cheaper data centers should translate into lower costs for Internet startups that typically rent computing capacity, providing a "turbo-charge" for innovation, according to Dell computer vice president of server platforms Forrest Norrod.

"Facebook's design is really a leap forward, because it is much simpler, cheaper and greener," Watson said. "I think it's the biggest reduction in server infrastructure cost in a decade."