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Red Hat certifies RHEL for Facebook’s Open Compute Project

Oct 28, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Red Hat joined Facebook's Open Compute Project, intended to open source the design and development of second-generation data centers for powering web and cloud services. Red Hat has certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the Open Compute specs, and will test RHEL and other software on Open Compute servers — whose hardware specs have been contributed by AMD, Asus, Dell, and Intel.

Open source giant Red Hat has joined Facebook's Open Compute Project to collaborate on the development of next-generation data centers. Red Hat's first step as a member of the Open Compute Project was to certify its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system to run on two servers based on the project's specifications.

After certification is complete, Red Hat is expected to test its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization platform on those servers. The company will also test storage technologies it obtained as part of its recent Gluster acquisition.

Facebook launched the Open Compute Project in April after building a highly efficient data center in Prineville, Ore. The data center is considered the most efficient in the world in terms of power consumption, using 38 percent less energy than the company's other data centers while costing 24 percent less. The power usage effectiveness rating is said to be 1.07, and only 7 percent of the power brought into the facility is used to cool down the facility.

Facebook's Open Compute servers in triplet racks in Prineville, Ore.

Building the facility required Facebook engineers to custom-design servers and all the server-room hardware, including power supplies, battery backup systems and racks, to meet their requirements. The company then launched the Open Compute Project and published some of specifications and designs of the hardware developed for Prineville.

The aim was to encourage collaboration in designing hardware and systems efficient enough for large and powerful web data centers by adopting the model used in open source software development. By sharing its hardware specifications with other companies, Facebook can get suggestions on how to improve the servers faster than if the company's engineers studied the systems on their own. The goal is to have outsiders spot inefficiencies, improve hardware, or incorporate features optimized for certain industries.

Dell, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Asus have already contributed intellectual property to the project, including motherboard and blade specifications. For example, Intel and Facebook collaborated on the designs of two Intel motherboards that met Open Compute Project specifications.

Frank Frankovsky, Facebook's director of hardware design and supply chain, wrote on the Open Compute Project's blog Oct. 27, "What began a few short months ago as an audacious idea — what if hardware were open? — is now a fully formed industry initiative, with a clear vision, a strong base to build from and significant momentum." 

At the company's Open Compute Summit in New York City on Oct. 27, Frankovsky also announced a new foundation that will guide the project. The Open Compute Foundation will drive collaboration efforts, Frankovsky said.

At the Open Compute Summit, the social networking software company announced it will build its first European data center in Lulea, Sweden. The facility is expected to go live in 2014 and will be three times the size of the Prineville facility. Facebook also runs a data center in North Carolina.

Stated Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of engineering at Red Hat, "With the Open Compute Project, Facebook is using the power of the open-source model to redefine how data centers are designed and built."

Other recent enterprise Linux coverage on eWEEK includes Jason Brook's Oct. 25 review of Convirture's ConVirt Enterprise 3, a lower-cost alternative to vSphere for building pools of managed virtual hosts and private clouds using Linux operating systems.

Fahmida Rashid is a writer for eWEEK.

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