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Facebook Takes Its Own Approach to Controlling Data Center Power
The idea of big data certainly has a focus on social media. Consumers share a considerable amount of information with their followers and with the brands they like. The most popular platform for sharing is Facebook (News - Alert) and the company continues to build an empire on the information it gathers from hundreds of millions of users.
This kind of information needs a place to reside. As a result, Facebook is one of the biggest consumers of data center power, running massive operations just to manage information. And while most giants turn to companies like IBM, Dell (News - Alert) and Cisco to build out their servers, racks and other hardware, Facebook decided to go another way. The company designs its own systems and then outsources the manufacturing to vendors located in Asia in order to save on cost.
Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, shared in an XSi blog that there is a massive transition taking place. Companies are shifting from traditional methods to a whole new data center. A key focus for many of these innovative companies, especially Facebook, is a reduction in data center power and their carbon footprint. It’s important for the corporate brand to demonstrate attention to the environment and take a Green approach.
Levine noted that there is billions, if not trillions, of dollars being shifted away from current market incumbents as new players take a Facebook-like approach. And Facebook is helping in the process. The social networking giant has made its data center designs available for anyone to copy. Companies can take advantage of the strategies Facebook has already vetted, while also paying attention to the Green methods deployed so as to reduce data center power consumption.
The shift for hardware players is certainly dramatic, putting pressure where it has never been before. Those who looked on Facebook’s Open Compute Projects with skepticism may have to rethink their positioning. The company has taken a more efficient approach to design, getting rid of extras they don’t need and leveraging lower cost placement strategies such as Iowa where wind power is not only plentiful, but also economic.
While some see this as an opportunity, there are others who may not look so kindly on Facebook changing the dynamics in the marketplace. Current hardware incumbents may be forced to rethink their business models if Facebook has the impact in this area that it has had in so many others.
The strategy alone is not new as Google (News - Alert) and Amazon are famous for their own designs, but they keep them heavily guarded. The fact that Facebook is ready to help the next guy may not bode well for relations with current market leaders. Will it change the outlook? Only time will tell.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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