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Greenpeace makes peace with Facebook

Greenpeace made peace with Facebook, forming an alliance with the world's leading social network to promote more earth-friendly data centers. "We are working in partnership with Greenpeace and others to create a world that is highly efficient and powered by clean and renewable energy," Facebook said in a release.

business Updated: Dec 17, 2011 17:36 IST
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Greenpeace made peace with Facebook, forming an alliance with the world's leading social network to promote more earth-friendly data centers. "We are working in partnership with Greenpeace and others to create a world that is highly efficient and powered by clean and renewable energy," Facebook said in a release.

Facebook vowed to make access to green energy sources a formal part of its policy for picking data center locations and to support ongoing research into equipment efficiency, making findings public for others to use.

Greenpeace, which had protested Facebook's use of electricity generated by burning coal, agreed to actively back an Open Compute Project (OCP) launched this year by the social network.

Facebook in April announced OCP, presenting an Internet-obsessed world with a gift -- greener, cheaper data centers to better power online services.

The social networking star custom-designed hardware, power supply, and architecture of a new US data center that is 38 percent more power efficient and costs 24 percent less than the industry average.

Schematics and designs for Facebook's revolutionary data center in the Oregon city of Prineville were made available to the world as part the project announced by co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"We found a lot of stuff mass manufacturers were putting out wasn't what we needed, so we customized it to better fit social applications," Zuckerberg said while unveiling OCP.

A shift to hosting software applications as services in the Internet "cloud" is driving enormous growth of data centers globally. OCP design improvements promise to shave millions of dollars off the electricity bill of a typical large data center.

"It is like the launch of the (Toyota) Prius, only you gave people the plans on how to make the Prius," Intel data center group general manager Jason Waxman said when Facebook launched OCP at its California headquarters.

"There are a lot of places around the world that could benefit from this kind of information."

If a quarter of the data centers in the United States switched to the new model it would save enough energy to power more than 160,000 homes, Facebook estimated. Other Internet firms such as Google build their own data centers, but haven't made designs freely available as Facebook has at the website opencompute.org.