Taiwanese spill on Zuck's racks: Servers powering Facebook REVEALED

'Remove anything that does not contribute to efficiency' ... kiss goodbye to every post?


Facebook runs on four different server designs, each created to fulfil a specialist task, according to Mike Yang, a general manager and vice president of Taiwanese OEM Quanta.

Quanta makes about a quarter of the world's laptop computers and has, of late, branched out into custom servers for big operators like Facebook.

Speaking at the Intel Big Data and Cloud Summit in Ho Chi Minh City*, Yang said Facebook's instructions to Quanta are simple: “remove anything in our servers that does not contribute to efficiency.”

“Anything”, Yang said, includes paint, a bezel, spare memory or PCIe slots and even a lid. Omitting the latter component allows easier cooling while removing spare slots trims power consumption just a little.

Yang also said Facebook doesn't use one type of servers for all tasks, but has instead asked Quanta to devise four different servers for different chores. The Social NetworkTM therefore uses different designs for compute, storage, database and cache. Yang didn't reveal details of how each design differs, but said the company provides Facebook with servers that fit three abreast into the 21-inch-wide Open Rack format.

Quanta's soon going to bring those designs to the world, as Yang said the company plans to open offices in Australia, Singapore, Germany and Japan in coming months.

Those offices will have tantalising new products to sell: a 42U Open Rack rig with a centralised power unit and a matching 2U, 28-disk JBOD and a choice of servers that sit two-or-three abreast. The Open Compute Solution, to use the rig its proper name, goes on sale in October. ®

*The author attended the summit as a guest of Intel, which paid for flights and accomodation.

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