Facebook dives into storage

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Facebook, the social networking giant that’s already made big waves with its open-source server plans, is now taking on storage.

The company is now building its own storage hardware to keep up with the exploding demand of its more than 840 million users, according to a Wired report. Facebook users put millions of their own photos and other digital paraphernalia on the site.

Frank Frankovsky, the former Dell hardware guy that who now spearheads Facebook’s data center hardware effort told Wired:

We’re taking the same approach we took with servers: Eliminate anything that’s not directly adding value. The really valuable part of storage is the disk drive itself and the software that controls how the data gets distributed to and recovered from those drives. We want to eliminate any ancillary components around the drive — and make it more serviceable.

In October, Frankovsky told GigaOM that Facebook was also looking at storage as part of the overall Open Compute Project it launched to standardize the energy-efficient data center gear. At that time he said: “Storing data at this scale has some unique challenges. We’ll work on those contributions and with the rest of the community on this.”

Facebook fields a state-of-the-art data center in Prineville, Ore., that many techies are studying. The underlying technology in that data center is the foundation of the Open Compute Foundation, which the project morphed into after Facebook relinquished control.

Few other details on the storage effort were forthcoming,  but whatever Facebook does in data-center hardware — or any technology, for that matter — is bound to catch people’s attention.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user IntelFreePress.

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