Facebook seemingly dropped a bomb on the datacentre and server industries when the firm announced that it was open sourcing reference designs, but the reality may not be so clear cut.
The Open Compute Platform (OCP) designs are billed as a radical rethink of datacentre and server systems, but in fact analysts agree that the designs, while welcome, are not something likely to bring major technological change compared with the decision to open up the platforms to public scrutiny.
"The world of hyper-scale web properties has been shrouded in secrecy, with major players such as Google and Amazon releasing only tantalising dribbles of information about their infrastructure architecture and facilities, on the presumption that this information represented critical competitive intellectual property," said Forrester analyst Rich Fichera.
"In one bold gesture, Facebook has reversed that trend by simultaneously disclosing a wealth of information about the design of its new datacentre and contributing much of the intellectual property involving racks, servers and power architecture."
This open source approach has taken some in the industry by surprise, but it adds brio to what are otherwise quite conventional designs for processing equipment.
Companies such as Google and Yahoo have been building custom systems for years, but the designs have been kept secret from the industry. Even the hardware configurations Microsoft uses to build Azure computing centres have been kept quiet.
What makes the Facebook announcement different is that it is open and available for anyone to copy. Whereas Google has hidden its server technology, Facebook has opened its system, although this may be down to the company having less to lose.
"I think Facebook is attempting to twist Google's nose a bit here," Charles King, founder of analyst house Pund-IT, told V3.co.uk.
"The technology is very admirable but Facebook is not a site that depends on datacentre performance in the same way that Google does, so there's less to lose here.
"That said, given [chief executive Mark] Zuckerberg's cavalier approach to user privacy and changing policies for users makes this is a bit like a slaver making a donation to an orphanage to boost their public standing."
US space agency believes the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed there billions of years ago
Valve quietly closes down hardware initiatives launched following Windows 8
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun