A consortium of technology heavyweights led by Facebook wants to fill the world with enormous low-cost computing centers, using the same collaborative techniques that created an explosion of software development over the past decade. In the process, they may also outmaneuver Google.
The group, the Open Compute Project, was first announced last April, when Facebook made public designs for data centers running tens of thousands of computers at once. Today in New York, officials from Facebook will announce creation of a nonprofit foundation to run the project, an advisory board, and publication of hardware designs and intellectual property from other companies, including Dell Computer and Red Hat, which was an early leader in commercializing Linux open source software.
…Official members of the Project also include Intel, Goldman Sachs, Red Hat and Rackspace, as well as the Chinese hardware maker Huawei, the software supplier Cloudera, Mozilla, the open source foundation responsible for the Firefox Internet browser, and institutions, including Georgia Tech University, North Carolina State University and CERN.
Another member of the group, a maker of computer motherboards known as ASUS, is expected to publish information about its products, so people can begin to build their own homemade servers. A provider of data center space and management, Digital Realty Trust, is expected to announce it will publish the locations of future data centers, in case members of the project want to reserve space and optimize it for their data center standards.
If successful, the project could also challenge big players like Hewlett Packard or IBM to join or out-innovate the open source hardware.
Posting this up so we can check back in a year and see what actual open-source hardware gets released. We are cautiously optimistic and hope to see some cool stuff.