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Facebook hands off motherboard designs to the Open Compute Platform

Group Hug motherboard lets users switch between SoC vendors
Thu Jan 17 2013, 11:44

SANTA CLARA: SOCIAL NETWORK OPERATOR Facebook has added designs for a common slot architecture specification for datacentre motherboards to the Open Compute Platform (OCP) initiative.

The "Group Hug" motherboard is a server motherboard that can support a variety of system-on- chip (SoC) processors. Originally made by Facebook, the board's designs will be available for equipment makers and enterprises via the OCP.

"We are establishing a common slot for any SoC creator in the world to create a chip for a common socket," chairman of the OCP and Facebook VP of hardware design and supply chain operations Frank Frankovsky said at the OCP Summit in Santa Clara, California.

The Group Hug motherboard is a vendor neutral board that can use any SoC available. It improves upon previous datacentre motherboards that were locked into a specific vendor's SoC architecture.

According to Facebook, the motherboard will allow datacentre operators to easily upgrade servers and future-proof their technologies.

The board works by using a motherboard slot that accepts SoCs on separate cards. Group Hug motherboards will be able to accept up to 10 separate SoC cards.

The OCP was created by a group of Facebook engineers two years ago with the aim of collaborating on designs to improve datacentre efficiency. OCP's first summit was held at Facebook headquarters.

Facebook's Frankovsky serves as the group's chairman. During the OCP Summit Frankovsky outlined why he felt the group is so vital in the datacentre hardware market. "Even the greatest tech companies in the world don't have all the best minds in the world," said Frankovsky.

The OCP's mission is to open source datacentre hardware designs in an effort to spur innovation in the market. During this year's OCP Summit the group also announced it had partnered with a slew of additional companies. µ


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