While conducting some research on Facebook’s upcoming IPO, I ended up on the Open Compute Project (OCP) website (Facebook’s a member). It turns out that a lot has been happening in the past several months, and most of it is great news for the future of energy efficient data centers and cloud infrastructures.
Unfortunately, it seems that even OCP isn’t immune to the patent wars.
First, the good news. Here are some choice updates from founding board member Frank Frankovsky, starting with news that its membership is expanding with some pretty big names in IT.
Dozens of new companies have joined as official members of the project, including HP, AMD, Fidelity, Quanta, Tencent, Salesforce.com, VMware, Canonical, DDN, Vantage, ZT Systems, Avnet, Alibaba, Supermicro, and Cloudscaling. HP, Quanta, and Tencent have taken the additional step of joining the OCP Incubation Committee, which reviews proposed projects to determine whether they should receive official OCP support.
Awesome, right? Even better, HP and Dell are working on Open Rack spec server and storage systems; VMware’s making vSphere OCP-friendly; and then there’s this announcement which led me to the OCP site:
Exciting new projects have been proposed to the Incubation Committee, including a Facebook design for a vanity-free storage server (code-named “Knox”) and highly efficient motherboard designs aimed at the specific needs of financial services companies from AMD and Intel (code-named “Roadrunner” and “Decathlete,” respectively).
It’s amazing stuff, but someone isn’t too thrilled about Facebook’s contributions to OCP.
Yahoo Warns over OCP Server Design
Facebook, already being sued by Yahoo over online advertising patents, might now be looking at a legal showdown over its OCP data center and server designs.
According to Data Center Knowledge, Yahoo claims the social media giant is treading on 16 patents that cover proprietary tech. These run a gamut of innovations like cold aisle containment systems to web caching and load balancing. The embattled Web company — whose CEO, Scott Thompson, is embroiled in a flap involving his non-existent computer science degree – also insinuates that some of its IP may have been improperly transferred to Facebook.
“We also understand that at least one former Yahoo employee who had responsibility in connection with Yahoo’s data centers now has responsibility over the operations of Facebook’s data centers,” writes Yahoo. It’s an apparent reference to Tom Furlong, Facebook Director of Site Operations who once had a stint on Yahoo’s data center team.
Image credit: Open Compute Project