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Facebook hands motherboard designs to Open Compute Project

17 Jan 2013

SANTA CLARA: Facebook has agreed to add its designs for a new common slot architecture specification for datacentre motherboards into the Open Compute Platform (OCP) initiative.

The "Group Hug" board is a datacentre motherboard that can run using a variety of system on chips (SOCs). Originally made by Facebook, the board's designs will be available for equipment makers and enterprises via the OCP.

"We are establishing a common slot for any SOC creator in the world to create a chip for a common socket," chairman of the OCP and Facebook vice president of hardware design and supply chain operations Frank Frankovsky at the OCP Summit in Santa Clara, CA.

The Group Hug is a vendor-neutral board that can use any SOC available. It improves upon previous datacentre motherboards that were locked into a specific vendor's SOC.

According to Facebook, the motherboard will allow for datacentre operators to easily upgrade servers and future-proof their technologies.

The chip works by using a motherboard slot which accepts SOCs that are put on separate cards. Group Hug motherboards will be able to accept up to 10 separate SOC cards.

The OCP was created by a group of Facebook engineers two years ago, with the aim of collaborating on designs to improve datacentre efficiency. OCP's first summit was also held at Facebook headquarters.

Facebook's Frankovsky serves as the group's chairman. During the OCP Summit Frankovsky outlined why he felt the group was so vital in the datacentre hardware space.

"Even the greatest tech companies in the world don't have all the best minds in the world," continued Frankovsky.

The OCP's mission is to open-source datacentre hardware designs in an effort to spur innovation in the market. During this year's OCP Summit the group also announced it had partnered with a slew of new companies. 

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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