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The Open Compute Project: Why Facebook Is Giving Away The Goods

This week, Facebook did something that would be unthinkable for most tech companies: it created a product cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally sound than the industry standard, then provided explicit instructions detailing exactl…

This week, Facebook did something that would be unthinkable for most tech companies: it created a product cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally sound than the industry standard, then provided explicit instructions detailing exactly how to build it.

Under an initiative dubbed the Open Compute Project, Facebook released designs for the technology powering its new data center in Prineville, Ore., which Facebook says is 38 percent more efficient and 24 percent cheaper to run thanks to its custom engineering.

Facebook framed the effort as a means of encouraging collaboration in the tech industry, advancing “best practices” in the construction of data centers and upholding its commitment to openness. But the PR-speak belies a high-stakes bet placed by the world’s largest social network that could have far reaching implications for its balance sheet and those of its competitors.

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