Facebook Shatters The Computer Server Into Tiny Pieces

Cade Metz | Wired | January 16, 2013

Since you last saw Frank Frankovsky, his beard has grown to epic lengths. And it suits him. As the man at the center of Facebook’s Open Compute Project, Frankovsky spent the last two years rethinking the very essence of the computer hardware that runs the company’s massive social network — and sharing his ever-evolving data center ideology with the rest of the tech world. He’s a kind of hardware philosopher. And now he looks like one too.

When you sit down with the burly Texan, inside Facebook’s Northern California headquarters, he takes the Open Compute philosophy to new extremes, revealing the blueprint for a computer server that doesn’t even look like a computer server. This design lets you add or remove a server’s primary part — the processor — whenever you like. Nowadays, if you want a new processor, you need, well, a new server. But Frankovksy and the Open Compute Project aim to change that, sharing the new design with anyone who wants it...