Facebook is sharing the technology it developed for making more energy-efficient data centers, in the hope that by doing so others will follow its example.

Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of Facebook's technical operations, posted on one of the company's blogs that the company is making the specifications and designs for the hardware used in one of its data centers in Oregon available on the Internet.

Facebook was originally criticized by the environmental group Greenpeace when it opened the center, largely because data centers use a lot of electricity and the power was supplied by PacifiCorp, which gets a large percentage of its electricity from coal.

Heiliger wrote that Facebook, inspired by the open-source software model, decided to start the Open Compute Project, designed to share specifications and best practices in the information technology sector and promote more energy-efficiency. He notes that software sharing has existed for a long time but hardware sharing is still relatively uncommon.

In designing the data center itself Facebook took steps to make sure that efficiency would be better from the start. Among the methods were using a  480-volt electrical distribution system to reduce energy loss, eliminating the need for a central power supply and reusing the hot air to heat the building in winter to heat the office as well as the outside air.

The Facebook page links to a video on the Open Compute site. In it, Frank Frankovsky director of hardware design, talks about how the data center used larger diameter fans to move more air with less power. Amir Michael, manager of hardware design, says one way to increase energy efficiency was to remove components that didn't provide any extra functionality. That also saved weight and materials, reducing the center's environmental impact.  

Heiliger says that he hopes that by releasing the specifications on the Internet, Facebook will get a lot of feedback from other people and organizations. Take the technology we have created, use it and improve it and adapt it, he says, urging people to use it in their own businesses. Tell us where we screwed up, tell us where we made a bad decision and help us make it better.

Facebook is sharing the technology it developed for making more energy-efficient data centers, in the hope that by doing so others will follow its example.

Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of Facebook's technical operations, posted on one of the company's blogs that the company is making the specifications and designs for the hardware used in one of its data centers in Oregon available on the Internet.

Facebook was originally criticized by the environmental group Greenpeace when it opened the center, largely because data centers use a lot of electricity and the power was supplied by PacifiCorp, which gets a large percentage of its electricity from coal.

Heiliger wrote that Facebook, inspired by the open-source software model, decided to start the Open Compute Project, designed to share specifications and best practices in the information technology sector and promote more energy-efficiency. He notes that software sharing has existed for a long time but hardware sharing is still relatively uncommon.

In designing the data center itself Facebook took steps to make sure that efficiency would be better from the start. Among the methods were using a  480-volt electrical distribution system to reduce energy loss, eliminating the need for a central power supply and reusing the hot air to heat the building in winter to heat the office as well as the outside air.

The Facebook page links to a video on the Open Compute site. In it, Frank Frankovsky director of hardware design, talks about how the data center used larger diameter fans to move more air with less power. Amir Michael, manager of hardware design, says one way to increase energy efficiency was to remove components that didn't provide any extra functionality. That also saved weight and materials, reducing the center's environmental impact.  

Heiliger says that he hopes that by releasing the specifications on the Internet, Facebook will get a lot of feedback from other people and organizations. Take the technology we have created, use it and improve it and adapt it, he says, urging people to use it in their own businesses. Tell us where we screwed up, tell us where we made a bad decision and help us make it better.