In a move to become even more self-reliant with its technology and infrastructure, Facebook has announced it is now running on computer networking equipment that was completely designed by its own engineers.
According to a February 11 Wired article, Facebook has already begun to implement these designs at its hundreds of thousands of servers at data centers around the world, which store the data and information of the social networking giant’s 1.19 billion users.
Facebook’s computer networking and hardware designs are simpler than those of major networking vendors like Cisco and Juniper. “Wedge” and “Six-Pack,” the latter of which was unveiled just days ago, were created for the highest possible level of efficiency when building, expanding and operating the networks for Facebook’s numerous web services and applications.
The reasons for a company like Facebook to design and manufacture its own computer server and networking equipment are many — the immense cost savings this self-reliance offers is just one of them. Each year, the computer server manufacturing sector generates an incredible $14 billion in revenue. When Facebook doesn’t have to purchase server software and hardware from an outside company, it saves huge sums of money while improving efficiency.
In addition, releasing the designs as an open source project — which Facebook has done with “Wedge” and “Six-Pack” — opens up possibilities for innovations to take place outside the company. Facebook says that 1,000 non-Facebook people contributed to its open-sourced products last year through the Open Compute Project, according to Tech Frag.
And surprisingly, Facebook is far from the only digital giant to design its own computer network gear and data center equipment. Wired reports that Google, Microsoft and Amazon all design hardware of all kinds for use in their data centers.
All four companies are building and expanding their vast networks with much greater ease and efficiency through having their own engineers design their network gear. And as more tech companies see the benefits of having a self-designed server system, there’s no telling how many more organizations will follow suit.