Facebook just made a potentially game-changing announcement.
It got less fanfare thanTuesday’s announcementthat it is going into the social search business, but this other announcement may have bigger long-term implications for the technology industry.
Put simply, some of the world’s biggest computing systems just got a little cheaper, and a lot easier to configure. As a consequence, the companies that supply the hardware to these systems may have to scramble to remain as profitable. The reason is a Facebook-led open source project.
In 2011 Facebook began the Open Compute Project, an effort among technology companies to use open-source computer hardware. Tech companies similarly shared intellectual property with Linux software, which lowered costs and spurred innovation. Facebook’s project has attracted many significant participants, including Goldman Sachs, Arista Networks, Rackspace, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
At a user summit on Wednesday Intel, another key member of the Open Compute Project, announced it would release to the group a silicon-based optical system that enables the data and computing elements in a rack of computer servers to communicate at 100 gigabits a second. That is significantly faster than conventional wire-based methods, and uses about half the power.
More important, it means that elements of memory and processing that now must be fixed closely together can be separated within a rack, and used as needed for different kinds of tasks. There is a lot of waste in data centers today simply because, when there is an upgrade in servers, lots of other associated data-processing hardware has to be changed, too.
The Latest Streaming News: Open Compute Project updated minute-by-minute
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