LinkedIn the latest to introduce its own server designs

Whoever thought the chief competitors to HP Enterprise and Dell EMC would wind up being some of their biggest customers? But giant data center operators are in a sense becoming just that — a competitor to the hardware companies that they once and, to some degree still, sell hardware to.

The needs of hyperscale data centers have driven this phenomenon. HPE and Dell design servers with maximum, broad appeal, so they don’t have to have many SKUs. But hyperscale data center operators want different configurations and find it cheaper to buy the parts and build the server themselves.

Most of them— Google chief among them — don’t sell their designs; it’s just for their own internal use. But in the case of LinkedIn, the company is offering to “open source” the hardware designs it created to lower costs and speed up its data center deployment.

LinkedIn’s project, called Open19, has been ongoing for more than two years now, but it only just finished the first deployment this past July, according to Yuval Bachar, a LinkedIn data center engineer, who disclosed the initiative in a blog post. The deployment of Open19-designed equipment is now complete, and the company is ready to discuss its efforts.

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