Inside LinkedIn's data centers

Just two of the interesting innovations at the core of the human network company’s data center strategy

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Nayyar:  One thing.  Our philosophy has always been that, wherever it makes sense, we want to give back and open source the projects we’ve been working on.  Zaid mentioned switching telemetry, which is a very scalable, fast, replicated streaming app we built, a messaging pipeline.  We open-sourced that and there are a couple reasons why.

Obviously if we open-source something other people can benefit from it, but we also believe there are business benefits.  One is we get multiple people sharing back, which improves the effort, and two we believe it helps the craftsmanship of our engineers because when they’re working on code that’s being looked at by millions of people they do a better job with documentation, and they create more elegant code because their name is on it. 

Nayyar:  We have an open hardware initiative called Open19 that has created a little bit of buzz and you’ll see more happening in that spot next year.  But just to give you an idea, we decided to create an open standard for a 19-inch rack environment for your server, storage and networking.  The goal is to reduce common components by 50%.   Everything in a rack requires power and network so we are consolidating anything that’s a common component inside the rack by 50%. 

Besides saving significant CapEx, Open19 can help you integrate racks 2-3x faster.  If you have a shared power module, a shared networking component, you don’t have to have messy cables anymore.  We have a lot of OEM and ODM vendors signing up because they are able to retain their intellectual property but, by adhering to this standard, they can enable a lot of flexibility for their future base. 

We’re creating a consortium and LinkedIn is one of the leaders of that consortium.  We are partnering with others strategically and the idea is that the committee will come together and we will then open up the designs and move the initiative forward.

This story, "Inside LinkedIn's data centers" was originally published by Network World.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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