Facebook Expands Networking Equipment On Large Scale
While Facebook is known for connecting billions of people, it is now moving to connect millions of servers as well. Facebook is now looking forward to create systems which could handle data in amounts a hundred times greater than what it is handling currently.
Facebook has released its design for a networking device as an open source project, which will aid in cooperating hundreds of thousands of servers in Facebook’s data centers.
The device is built from hardware components found on the shelf, along with specific and efficient software. It is also designed in such a way, that Facebook says it will add speed and efficiency to most of the commercial computer centers.
This now means companies like Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Arista Networks might have to up their game as Facebook’s network might be a new rival in the commercial networking equipment market.
Facebook, the social platform which gained massive popularity due to its privacy settings and photo sharing capabilities, has the world’s largest repository of photographs. After Instagram, the picture-only sharing platform, the size of photos has quadrupled exponentially.
Moreover, it can personalize social pages for millions of people at once. That is why the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg hopes that open sourcing the company’s hardware will attract more people from outside the company, increasing innovation on Facebook’s behalf. According to the Facebook, 1,000 non-Facebook people contributed to the company’s products that had been open sourced last year.
“There are efficiencies in terms of people and money, and total cost of ownership models,” said Jay Parikh, vice president of engineering at Facebook. “Most of our big bets are based around huge changes in flexibility though.”
He added, “if we want the industry to rethink its practices, we have to publish” technical advances like the networking switch.
The new switch is being called the “6-pack”, and is the advancement of the Facebook owned small scale switch, the Wedge. Wedge was designed to work at the top of a rack of servers, by coordinating the activity among them.
The 6-pack works in the following way to improve against Wedge:
1. Takes 12 computer boards used in Wedge
2. Packages them into a machine with:
- eight boards for coordinating multiple racks
- four boards to coordinate activity among the eight outward-facing boards.
The modular design of 6-pack is partly also to standardize and automate as many parts of Facebook’s technology as possible.