The holiday season is often a time of reflection, a time to be thankful and a time to give back to those who have given so much to us throughout the year.

Facebook has obviously been feeling the holiday spirit, with Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that he’s giving away $45 billion in Facebook shares. But that’s not the only thing Facebook is doing to give back.

In 2011, Facebook announced the Open Compute Project. After designing a new data center, including building custom-designed servers, power supplies, server racks and battery backup systems, the data center team decided to share its innovations so the entire industry could use, learn from and improve upon what Facebook has done. So what was the motivation for Facebook to share this proprietary information? The hope that the data center community would use it to reimagine, reinvent and make technology advances that wouldn’t have been possible if the project was kept a secret.

The team evaluated the influence of all components – software, servers and the facility – to achieve a holistic data center approach that reduces environmental impact and operating costs. With an emphasis on energy-efficiency improvement and operational cost savings, Facebook’s new data center uses 38% less energy to do the same work as its other data centers – at 24% less cost. This design has reportedly saved the company $2 billion in infrastructure costs in the past three years.

Download our Smart Cabinet Access System for Data Centers White paperFacebook believes that the Open Compute Project is just the beginning of developing more efficient computing infrastructure. Since the project’s inception, several other organizations have joined the mission, including Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. Today, more than 200 companies are part of the project.

Data Center Data Transmission

The specifications and mechanical drawings used in Facebook’s data center are available at The group encourages feedback and open dialogue regarding:

  • Server technology. Efficiency, cost-effectiveness and easy maintenance were the goals of the servers used in Facebook’s data center.
  • Storage technology. Simplicity, affordability, expandable design and easy drive replacement were the focus of the data center’s storage technology, which uses a modular I/O topology and high disk densities.
  • Data center technology. Accepting 277 volts of AC, more energy moves from the grid to the data center components for improved performance. Facebook’s data center also mixes outdoor air with return air to provide cooling.

As you enjoy the holiday season, we hope that you take time to reflect, be thankful and give back to those who have given so much to you. Watch for another blog coming soon that will offer advice to companies that target an Open Compute environment.

To learn more about the Open Compute Project, or to hear how Belden can help you improve your data center design and infrastructure, schedule a call with one of our data center experts!