Summary:

Building boards and designing circuits are all the rage in the consumer gadget world, but Facebook and the Open Compute Project are trying to bring that spirit to the enterprise.

Facebookhackathon
photo: Facebook

The Open Compute Project hosted its second-ever hardware hackathon on Tuesday and the winning hack, a paired board that allowed for remote monitoring and diagnostics of servers was presented onstage at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco Wednesday.

The winning project was designed by a team that called themselves the Cheesemongers. Their boards were called Cheesy Finger (that’s the board that plugs into each server) and The Big Cheese, the board that sends the collected information from the cheesy fingers to an iPad app. Matt Gambardella, whose day job is at Nebula, led the winning team.

Matt Gambardella of Nebula, winner of the Open Compute Hackathon at Structure 2013

Matt Gambardella of Nebula, winner of the Open Compute Hackathon at Structure 2013

John Kenevey, a program manager at Facebook who organizes the hackathons, noted that the social network and Open Compute are trying to build up interest and a series of tools around hardware innovation that will help turn them into a “Maker Faire for the enterprise.”

Facebook-hardware-hackathon

Other than the cheesy project which would help reduce the number of people needed to manage a bunch of servers. Notable hacks included porting Facebook’s HipHop PHP compiler so it ran on a 32-bit ARM-based cluster. Kenevey stressed that Facebook was not moving its production environment to 32-bit ARM servers.

More than 50 hackers gathered at Facebook’s headquarters on Tuesday to build six projects during a 13-hour session (it was supposed to be 12). TechShop, Tempo Automation and Upverter provided tooling and machinery to create boards.

Check out the rest of our Structure 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:


A transcription of the video follows on the next page
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