Facebook hardware guru Frank Frankovsky is developing a blueprint for a new type of computer server that enables a user to add or remove the processor. "By modularizing the design, you can rip and place the bits that need to be upgraded, but you can leave the stuff that's still good," Frankovsky says.
The server design is part of the Open Compute Project, which aims to significantly reduce the cost and the hassle of maintaining and upgrading computer servers. "[The Open Compute Project] is about empowering the user to take control of infrastructure design," Frankovsky says. The modular processor specification is an extension of earlier hardware design open sourced by Facebook. The common slot used by Intel and AMD processor sockets is based on the PCIe connector used in existing servers. "We want to better match how the software is going to exercise the hardware," Frankovsky says.
Facebook also has open sourced two other server designs. One is the latest version of the Facebook Web server, and the other is the company's first custom-built database server. Both systems are designed to reduce costs by stripping the hardware to the bare essentials, not using a hard drive, and running entirely on flash memory.
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