Product Management :: Product Marketing

12 April, 2011

Facebook open sources data centre design

Facebook's has committed to open source its data centre design. This will surely threaten Google competitive advantage.

Firstly, this is what Facebook did:
Facebook then took the revolutionary step of releasing the designs for most of the hardware in the datacenter under the Creative Commons license. They released everything from the power supply and battery backup systems to the rack hardware, motherboards, chassis, battery cabinets, and even their electrical and mechanical construction specifications.
(from O’Reilly’s Jesse Robbins' blog post)

The result: Facebook’s shiny, new, custom-built datacentre in Prineville, Oregon, USA uses 38% less energy to do the same work as Facebook's existing facilities, while costing 24% less.

Side note: Dunno quite why Prineville was chosen. Cost of electricity is a massive factor, which is why Google and other choose locations near hydro power plants, but this is not the case in Prineville. See article at

Facebook can do this because its competitive weapon is entrenched and massive user base which is unlikely to wander off anywhere soon. Facebook is sticky, 'coz all your friends are there too.

Why should Google be concerned? Well, Google isn’t a one trick pony, but search is very, very, VERY important to it and user can more easily churn to another search engine than users of Facebook.

Search needs muscle - and operational muscle is one of Google's secret sauces - see my next post on Google's Secret Sauce.

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