Open-source principles will transform enterprise IT, says Facebook’s John Kenevey (video)

4 Jul 2014

John Kenevey, program manager at Facebook

Open-source principles have contributed to US$1.2bn in IT cost savings at Facebook through the commoditisation of enterprise hardware and switches, the social network’s programme manager John Kenevey said.

Kenevey was in Dublin earlier this week to address the Open Tech Ireland gathering on SDN technology, presented in co-operation with the Irish Software Association, Intune Networks, KEMP Technologies, and Sanctum Networks.

Kenevey said Facebook started the Open Compute Project (OCF) with the goal of building one of the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost. “We initiated it about three years ago and the idea was we would open source the designs for our data centre and really the idea was to continue to drive commoditisation across the supply chain and help us get leverage across the supply chain as our purchasing power was very large.

“To date, Facebook has saved about US$1.2bn focused on efficiency and about a quarter of that is attributed to the designs we’ve open sourced to the data centre.

“Really, you are looking at a technology transfer pipeline so you are getting a technology transfer into the public domain so those cost savings can be saved by other customers.

“We think also that it generally helps commoditise the industry and produce innovation and speed up product velocity on top of that.

“The OCF partnered with the Open Networking Foundation on the networking projects and we started figuring out how we could design a network switch to incorporate OpenFlow and SDN and about two weeks ago Facebook announced the Wedge Switch, which will be open sourced into the foundation in the next couple of months.

“That’s the first step on us getting out feet wet in the networking space, supported with technologies such as SDN,” Kenevey said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years