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Facebook is working with other designers to break the monolithic server mold and design new open source hardware.

Frank Frankovsky Facebook Structure:Europe 2013
photo: Anna Gordon/GigaOM

Open source is a buzzy phrase these days, especially in the hardware world. But can it solve some of the biggest issues with data hardware? Facebook’s VP of Infrastructure Frank Frankovsky told the audience at GigaOM’s Structure:Europe that the social media network’s embrace of open source has increased data efficiency and lowered costs.

Frankovsky and his team began the Open Compute Project, an open source hardware group that freely posts design ideas and concepts for collaboration and implementation. Since starting the project in 2011, the team opened a data center in Lulea, Sweden, with 100 percent open source servers.

“We looked at initial quality rates between our Sweden center and our U.S. centers. In the U.S., data centers that have a mix of OCP and non-OCP equipment, the failure rate is 3 percent and in Sweden it’s about 1 percent.”

Frankovsky says that he and his team really care about making hardware better through open source, and hopes that the designs will have an impact on hardware design in the long run.

Check out the rest of our Structure:Europe 2013 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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  1. I very interested in this discussion but wish I could have more information on the definition of failure. Is it hardware, software or could the overall solution have benefited from learning and experiences in previous data centres.

    Tantalising glimpses that I wish I could action.

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