PlayStation 4 [ IN DETAIL ]


PS4, Get Ready To Play!

Lets brush up some Play Station History: 

Back in 2005 when there was no Android or iPhone flu in the market especially for games people only knew PC’s & consoles as the major players.. From then on the Play Station has taken a wonderful lead in the Gaming Industry by launching various creative products such as the PSP, PS2, then the PS3.  For many consoles with Internet connectivity was a novelty. These changes are only accentuated by the length of this console generation, which has exceeded any that went before it. It feels like the PlayStation 4 is launching into a completely different world.

Evolution of PlayStation:

Sitting down with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s president and CEO Jim Ryan the morning after the announcement, I asked him which developments of the past six years or so have made the PlayStation 4 possible. Here are the four most significant.

Most obviously, if the PlayStation 3 hadn’t done well over the past five years, the PlayStation 4 would definitely not be happening. “The first thing is that we had a condition of considerable success with the PS3, and had that not happened, we probably would not be sitting here after yesterday’s event,” says Ryan. “PS3 was not all that easy in the beginning, but we’re now 70m units in, and certainly in the part of the world I look after, in most European territories you’re in a very dominant market position, and there’s good momentum – PS3 will carry on going. That success was definitely a necessary condition… it’s a big thing for any corporation to decide that they’re going to introduce a new platform, and you can best do that from a position of success.”

Although the PlayStation 4 does not require an Internet connection to function – something that was rumoured before the announcement, and a prospect that was getting plenty of people worried – connectivity is a huge part of the console’s pitch, as evidenced by the Share button and the console’s Gaikai cloud-gaming integration, which looks set to become one of its defining features. What has enabled this is the improvement of the global Internet infrastructure; more people than ever are online, and more people than ever have access to broadband, so it is easier to justify making connectivity so integral to the console.

PlayStation at its Gaming:

“Our levels of connectedness on the PS3 platform are extremely high – in excess of 90%, even in places like Italy and Spain,” says Ryan. “When you have that level of connectedness it makes that sort of innovation much easier to justify. It becomes much easier to do than if you’re running at 10% levels of connectivity; everybody’s online, so the ROI [return on investment] – which unfortunately people like myself do have to worry about – on those sorts of investment decisions becomes much more straightforward.”

As well as better broadband, social media has totally changed the way we communicate with each other since the PlayStation 3 was announced, pushing us towards sharing more of our lives online. This has made social integration on the PlayStation 4 not only possible, but necessary. The DualShock 4’s Share button and the PlayStation Network’s increased personalisation show how the console is embracing the more socially connected Internet that has developed since the PlayStation 3’s release, claims Jim.

ps4 dual shock4 console

“We think personalisation is very important in this day and age. You’ll have a home page on the network which is yours, [with] stuff that you’ve bought and that your friends have bought, what your friends are doing… The social aspect is probably most important of all – this deep, very rich social engagement, whether it’s via social networks or by using this rather cool Share button.

“I think the general move to this connected world that we live in now makes the realisation of what we’re going to do with the PS4 possible to an extent that really wasn’t the case 5 or 6 years ago, ” he concludes.

In 2006 the idea of being able to use, say, your Samsung phone with your Sony games console was preposterous. Since then, however, smartphones and tablets have become so dominant that console manufacturers have had to acquiesce (and other electronics hardware manufacturers – there are even ovens you can control with your iPhone). This is the impetus behind the Xbox’s SmartGlass, and the PlayStation 4 will use apps to let you use tablets and phones as second screens (as well as the Vita, of course). We are no longer limited by hardware compatibility to anywhere near the same extent.

“One of the things that we increasingly see is that the silos that have existed in the past with these vertical platforms are getting broken down little bit by little bit,” observes Ryan. (In plain English, platforms are no longer closed – they have to integrate.) “Things are becoming more open and less proprietary, and this can only be good for consumers. It brings certain technical challenges and business model challenges in certain spaces, but I think in this day and age companies like Sony have to meet those challenges head-on.”

Watch the Official Live PlayStation Announcement.(Replay)

#Facebook got hacked Anonymously.


 

Facebook said on Friday it had been the target of an unidentified hacker group, but it found no evidence that user data was compromised.

Last month, Facebook security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack,” the company said in a blog post posted on Friday afternoon, just before the three-day Presidents Day weekend. “The attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised.

The social network, which says it has more than one billion active users worldwide, also said: “Facebook was not alone in this attack. It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well.”

Facebook declined to comment on the motive or origin of the attack.

A security expert at another company with knowledge of the matter said he was told the Facebook attack appeared to have originated in China.

The FBI declined to comment, while the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Facebook’s announcement follows recent cyber attacks on other prominent websites. Twitter, the micro blogging social network, said earlier this month it had been hacked and that about 250,000 user accounts were potentially compromised, with attackers gaining access to information, including user names and email addresses.

Newspaper websites, including those of The New York Times (NYT.N), The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, have also been infiltrated. Those attacks were attributed by the news organizations to Chinese hackers targeting coverage of China.

While Facebook said no user data was compromised, the incident could raise consumer concerns about privacy and the vulnerability of personal information stored within the social network.

Facebook has made several privacy missteps over the years because of the way it handled user data and it settled a privacy investigation with federal regulators in 2011.

Facebook said it spotted a suspicious file and traced it back to an employee’s laptop. After conducting a forensic examination of the laptop, Facebook said it identified a malicious file, then searched company-wide and identified “several other compromised employee laptops.”

Another person briefed on the matter said the first Facebook employee had been infected via a website where coding strategies were discussed.

The company also said it identified a previously unseen attempt to bypass its built-in cyber defenses and that new protections were added on February 1.

Because the attack used a third-party website, it might have been an early-stage attempt to penetrate as many companies as possible.

If they followed established patterns, the attackers would learn about the people and computer networks at all the infected companies. They could then use that data in more targeted attacks to steal source code and other intellectual property.

In its statement, Facebook said the attack was launched using a “zero-day,” or previously unknown flaw in its software that exploited its Java built-in protections.

“Zero-day” attacks are rarely discovered and even more rarely disclosed. They are costly to launch and often suggest government sponsorship.

In January 2010, Google reported it had been penetrated via a “zero-day” flaw in an older version of the Internet Explorer Web browser. The attackers were seeking source code and were also interested in Chinese dissidents, and Google reduced its operations in the country as a result.

Attention to cybersecurity has ratcheted up since then and this week President Barack Obama issued an executive order seeking higher safety standards for critical infrastructure.

Other companies stand to benefit more from comprehensive legislation, which has stalled in Congress. Republicans have opposed additional regulations that would come with mandatory security standards.

 

[-TOI]

 

BlueStacks – Rumored to bring Android Apps To WindowsRT Devices, Hits 5Million Installs.


new-bluestacks-logo

It appears that BlueStacks isn’t just a flash in the pan. The Silicon Valley-based start up, which makes software that allows users to run their Android apps on Macs and PCs, said today that it has passed 5 million organic installs through its homepage. Vanity stats like this are annoying, yes, but what’s notable is that BlueStacks hit this milestone in under eight months. And the news comes on top of its recent partnerships with AMD and Asus, which have announced their intention to pre-load BlueStacks’ technology on over 100 million units.

In September, BlueStacks announced a partnership with chipmaker AMD, which brought its app catalog to AMD-powered Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines through the launch of its new app store, AppZone. As Sarah pointed out at the time, much like AppUp, Intel’s app store for PCs that “has been optimized to run on Intel-powered Ultrabooks,” with AppZone, the chipmaker optimized BlueStacks’ technology for AMD GPUs and APUs.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the chipmakers began implementing the startup’s technology, as AMD was the lead strategic investor in BlueStacks’ $6.4 million series B raise in October of last year. The round brought the company’s total investment to $15 million and saw AMD join investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Ventures, Citrix and Qualcomm.

It’s unusual for software makers and manufacturers like Citrix, Qualcomm and AMD to show up on the same roster of investors, yet, as Sarah said, it was a demonstration of an eagerness among investors to leverage the Windows ecosystem as a platform to run Android apps.

The partnerships with AMD and Asus and its backing from Qualcomm also set the stage for BlueStacks to team up with additional manufacturers to pre-install its technology on PCs. The big-picture goal for the startup is to help bring the some 750K Android apps to each and every one of the billion-plus PC users out there. It’s a sizable opportunity, another part of the reason investors (and chipmakers) are eager to test the waters.

BlueStacks’ technology allows users to run graphics-intensive Android apps on desktop PCs via its patent-pending “Layercake” technology, which initially enabled Android apps to be compatible with x86-based PCs, followed by Macs, and now includes those developed for ARM processors — Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja being two familiar examples. (More on this below.)

The company has been looking to build a developer platform, as well, and has been partnering with the makers of apps like Fruit Ninja, SliceIt!, Townsmen, Evernote, StumbleUpon and Barnes & Noble (Nook). The main selling point being that developers don’t have to modify or port their apps to run them on PCs, which means less heavy lifting for those who have already developed apps for Android.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 3.08.44 PMTo this point, HandyGames CEO Christopher Kassulke let it slip last night at Mobile Gaming Europe that HandyGames will be launching their uber popular Clouds and Sheep as a PC game using BlueStacks. And the more big app development houses begin signing on, the more BlueStacks thinks that it’s helping to create a crack in the wall between mobile and PC gaming.

But here’s what could be most exciting for developers (and users) looking at developing for (or buying) Windows mobile devices. The newly released Windows RT, for those unfamiliar, is a special version of Windows 8 built for mobile (specifically ARM) devices — so, really, tablets. If somehow you haven’t noticed, Microsoft has been pushing its new Surface tablets pretty aggressively since their initial release in late October, partly manifesting through that snappy, percussive ad campaign you’ve probably seen by now on the tube. The main mobile OS being offered by the Surface? Windows RT.

As of now, consumers can buy a number of ARM-powered Windows RT devices, and there are more coming. But Surface currently has the highest profile among these tablets and devices, yet, the problem is that they’re not selling as well as Microsoft would have hoped. According to Tech Report, MSFT’s initial order of 4 million Surface devices has been cut in half thanks to slow sales.

Leaving the device itself out of it, probably the biggest reason for this boils down to apps. Compared to iOS and Android, few developers have built native apps for Windows 8. Even if consumers want to buy the Surface, many would rather opt for an Android or iOS device, because they offer far more access to the apps we’ve all grown accustomed to using on a daily basis.

So, naturally, rumors have begun to mount that BlueStacks’ next project will be to make its tech available to Windows RT users. As evidenced in this forum, hilariously, it appears that Microsoft salespeople have even begun to suggest using BlueStacks if users want to buy a Windows device and get access to Android apps.

The Droid Guy was one of the first to pick up on the BlueStacks, Windows RT rumors, as a BlueStacks team member recently divulged in a separate forum that the company was in the process of bringing those 750K+ Android apps to Windows RT. BlueStacks Engineer Deepak Sharma, via The Droid Guy: “We are considering offering BlueStacks for Windows RT next year.”

BlueStacks team members approached by TechCrunch would not confirm that this is in fact happening, but from what we’ve been able to gather from other sources, it seems there’s a good chance this could happen in early 2013.

However, as The Droid Guy points out, Microsoft’s Windows Defender could pose problems in this regard, as it could force BlueStacks to release its own app on the Windows Store, which, knowing Microsoft, would likely be disapproved. Until then, BlueStacks works well with Windows 8 Pro-based tablets and devices, but if BlueStacks is able to produce an ARM version of its technology, this could be a big boost both for the startup and for those looking for access to a viable app platform on their new Windows device.

With support for both ARM and Windows 8 Pro, developers could significantly increase their distribution without having to develop native apps for Windows devices — great for them but, again, not something that Microsoft is likely to get too jazzed about.

For more, find BlueStacks at home here.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 3.10.26 PM

(-via TC)

Wave I, II Get Android 4.0 [ROOTED] [COMPLETE] :


Its Raining Android

For all the ‘Wavers’,here’s a good news. We here have brought Android 4.0 to your Wave Devices. By not wasting more time, Below Are The Steps For Rooting Your Phone:

How to ROOT a Wave:

1) Copy and/or replace the given “zImage” in your phone memory with this one here >> Click zImage
2) Use the Unlock Root tool to root your wave >> Click Here
3) Download Unlock Root tool from above link and install it.
4) Connect your Android on Samsung Wave to your PC and make sure the USB debugging is switched on.
5) Click on root.
6) It will ask to install a driver, click on install driver anyway , it should be the second option (in Win 7)
7) Wait for root to complete and Done

For Latest Android 4.0 CFW Firmwares for Wave I & Wave II Click here

Polish Blood Android 4.0 Alpha Release.

If you are UNABLE TO ROOT your Wave from the above process then follow the steps below:

UPDATE

The steps below are for 64bit Systems Windows 7

If you are UNABLE TO ROOT your Wave from the above process then follow the steps below:

1. Download the SDK from android website : CLICK HERE

2. Now open the Android SDK Manager, then only tick at Google USB driver and Uncheck everything else

3. Click on the  “Install 1 package.” button. Wait until finish.

4. Now go to device manager. Search for Samsung.

5. Right click then choose update driver. Choose Manual instead of automatic.

6. Browse to C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Android\android-sdk\extras\google\usb_driver

7. Click Ok and wait until the installation is finished.

8. If you haven’t downloaded the UnlockRoot tool CLICK HERE

9. Download and Install the Unlock Root Tool.

10. Open Unlock Root program on your PC. Click “Root” button. Then there will be pop up. Click on Samsung Wave Android ICS 4.0.4

11. Wait again until the program boots your Wave.

12. Your wave is now rooted.

For Android Firmwares for Wave I and Wave II Click here

(via DK, badahub)
(NOTE: processes told , downloads from this site should be done at your own risk. Neither MobileGameroids nor the authors, the sources will be responsible for any loss.)

Facebook Buys Mobile Discovery Service Glancee


Facebook has scooped up another startup in its path toward mobile dominance. This time, it’s Glancee, an ambient location-based service that competes with Highlight.

From Glancee’s home page:

“We started Glancee in 2010 with the goal of bringing together the best of your physical and digital worlds. We wanted to make it easy to discover the hidden connections around you, and to meet interesting people. Since then Glancee has connected thousands of people, empowering serendipity and pioneering social discovery.

“We are therefore very excited to announce that Facebook has acquired Glancee and that we have joined the team in Menlo Park to build great products for over 900 million Facebook users. We’ve had such a blast connecting people through Glancee, and we truly thank our users for being a part of the Glancee community.”

Less than a month ago, Facebook acquired the mobile-based photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, and the world’s largest social network has expressed its sights are set on mobile.

Glancee fits the bill. It was one of the hot passive location startups at SXSW this year, along with Highlight and Sonar.

Facebook’s just weeks away from an initial public offering. The company announced its shares would be priced at $28 to $35, putting the company at a valuation of $85 billion and $95 billion. Facebook did not disclose the terms of the Glancee acquisition.

-(via Mashable)

Facebook Adds “Listen” Button to Bands, Artist’s Pages.


Justin Bieber Facebook

Facebook is adding on Tuesday a “Listen” button to some its band and artist pages that give users an easy way to listen to their favorite songs directly on the site.

As of now, fans can listen to songs from artists such as Justin Bieber and Linkin Park to former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash directly on Facebook via various music services such as Spotify and MOG via the Facebook itself. Although the “Listen” button is only available on some artist pages, more are expected to get the button added soon.

Located next to the “Like” and “Message” buttons on an artist’s page, the “Listen” button will connect users to the music service they use most frequently and play popular songs from that artist. The first time you click on the button, a prompt from one of the participating services will pop up and ask for you to grant access

Since the music services are apps connected with Facebook Timeline, listening activity will be published to your page while listening.

Will you listen to artists directly on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook buys Instagram for $1Billion.


Instagram_logo

Facebook has just finished a deal to acquire mobile photo sharing app Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram will remain an independently branded standalone app that’s separate from Facebook, but the services will increase their ties to each other. The transaction should go through this quarter pending some standard closing procedures

Last year, documents for a standalone Facebook mobile photo sharing app were attained by us. Now it seems Facebook would rather buy Instagram which comes with a built-in community of photographers and photo lovers, while simultaneously squashing a threat to its dominance in photo sharing.

At 27 million registered users on iOS alone, Instagram was increasingly positioning itself as a social network in its own right — not just a photo-sharing app. And it was clear that some users were doing more of the daily sharing activities on Instagram rather than Facebook’s all-in-one mobile apps, which had to be cluttered with nearly every feature of the desktop site.

With the Instagram for Android launch last week, Instagram was going to get to 50 million registered users in a heartbeat after racking up more than 1 million in the first 24 hours. And with that kind of momentum, Facebook felt like it had to move — fast. After all, photo sharing and tagging are arguably what *made* Facebook.

Whatever you think of the price given the fact that Instagram had no revenues, the reality is it was going to be worth whatever Mark Zuckerberg felt like paying for it. Both Google and Facebook had approached Instagram several times over the past 18 months, but the talks clearly didn’t result in a deal. So Facebook was going to have to offer a huge premium over the last valuation for Systrom and the board to take any deal seriously.

[Instagram’s founders from left, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. Portrait by Cody Pickens]

With the deal, Instagram will gain massive design and engineering resources by joining forces with Facebook, a big change after running as a famously lean company with just a handful of employees. Still, the deal seems to let Instagram stay somewhat independent and maintain some of its company culture. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom writes in a blog post, “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away.”

This is a really big departure from the way Zuckerberg has historically run Facebook as asingle product. He has always been insistent that everything feed back into Facebook itself. Keeping Instagram as a separate product and brand is reminiscent of what Google has done with keeping YouTube and Android as separate fiefdoms within the company following their acquisitions.

Instagram’s investors included Benchmark Capital, Greylock Capital, Thrive Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, along with angel investors including Quora’s Adam D’Angelo, Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca and Square and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

The early investors must be thrilled with the price. From our understanding, the later investors, who put capital into the company at a $500 million valuation, seem happy with basically getting a 2X in a few days after the money was wired last Thursday.

Mark Zuckerberg posted the following letter to his Timeline about the purchase:

I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.

That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.

Facebook Messenger For Windows Desktop


Facebook Messenger For Windows

You might spend more time using Facebook if you didn’t have to leave a browser window open, so today Facebook officially launches its Messenger for Windows free downloadable desktop client. But since an early tester leaked the download linkin December and Facebook responded by making it publicly available, you might already have it. The client lets you persistently chat, receive notifications, and read your news feed from your desktop.

Facebook says “For those of you on Macs, we’re busy working on Messenger for Mac right now. Stay tuned.” Facebook Messenger for Windows can be downloaded here for Windows 7, and it will be promoted to Windows users around the world over the next few weeks. Facebook has exhausted much of the supply of new users to sign up in many countries. The product demonstrates its shift to focusing on squeezing every last drop of engagement from existing users.

Offsite Facebook Chat has proven wildly popular. Microsoft’s Messenger Live site that lets users Facebook Chat, read updates from friends, and share is technically Facebook’s most popular app according to AppData, with 22.4 million monthly active users and a staggering 19.1 million daily active users for an incredible stickiness percentage of 85.5%. Messenger for Windows could bring some of this usage to where there’s no Hotmail, SkyDrive, or other Microsoft features to distract users.

Facebook loves to test its products on small percentages of its user base to check for usage patterns and adoption rates before rolling them out globally. It even has a specially designed piece of infrastructure called Gatekeeper to manage who can see what. When testing browser-based products Facebook has full control, showing and hiding features to different users at will, with guinea pigs typically unable to opt in or out of tests.

In testing one of it’s first downloadable desktop products, Facebook suddenly found it was the guinea pigs who were running the experiment. When a blogger for Israel’s TechIT was admitted to the Messenger for Windows test group after the product was announced in November, he was given an unprotected download link. He promptly published it. We picked up on the news and suggested Facebook face facts and publicly release the link for those desperate to download. That’s just what it did, making the client available in the Help Center, but making no formal announcement.

Today that announcement comes. Facebook tells me the updates since the leak are basically just fine tuning and bug fixes, no features have been added, and the tester base has enjoyed offsite Chat access. Like Facebook’s standalone Messenger mobile apps, the Windows client is snappy and responsive, and lets users avoid the nagging feeling that they need to constantly check Facebook for new activity.

As I noted in December, the client will help Facebook in two core ways:

  • Persistent access to Chat will increase engagement of the primary user, and also draw their friends to spend more time on Facebook
  • Persistent access to notifications, messages, and friend requests that launch Facebook.com may lead to more return visits than users haphazardly stopping by the website to check for these alerts

With this and the forthcoming Mac client, Facebook may have found a way to blow past its own record-setting 7+ hours per month average time on site.

-(via techcrunch)

Mobile World Congress 2012 [EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE]


About the MWC 2012 :

MWC is redefining “mobile”.  No longer limited only to communications, mobile is now a force transforming our world in an unprecedented way. Mobile connects, entertains, informs and inspires us, ultimately changing how we live and who we are.

Mobile World Congress is the global epicenter of this redefinition as our participants enable, lead and accelerate it. Join it in Redefining Mobile at Mobile World Congress 2012, which will be held 27 February to 1 March at Fira Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain.

 Surf the below for detailed View:

Facebook to overhaul on Hardware with own Storage Gear !


Facebook already built its own data center and its own servers. And now the social-networking giant is building its own storage hardware — hardware for housing all the digital stuff uploaded by its more than 845 million users.

“We store a few photos here and there,” says Frank Frankovsky, the ex-Dell man who oversees hardware design at Facebook. That would be an understatement. According to some estimates, the company stores over 140 billion digital photographs — and counting.

Like the web’s other leading players — including Google and Amazon — Facebook runs an online operation that’s well beyond the scope of the average business, and that translates to unprecedented hardware costs — and hardware complications. If you’re housing 140 billion digital photos, you need a new breed of hardware.

In building its own data center on the Oregon high desert, Facebook did away with electric chillers, uninterruptible power supplies, and other terribly inefficient gear. And in building its own servers, it not only reduced power consumption, it stripped thee systems down to the bare essentials, making them easier to repair and less expensive. Frankovsky and his team call this “vanity free” engineering, and now, they’ve extended the philosophy to storage hardware.

“We’re taking the same approach we took with servers: Eliminate anything that’s not directly adding value. The really valuable part of storage is the disk drive itself and the software that controls how the data gets distributed to and recovered from those drives. We want to eliminate any ancillary components around the drive — and make it more serviceable,” Frankovsky says during a chat at the new Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, which also happens to be the former home of onetime hardware giant Sun Microsystems.

“Break fixes are an ongoing activity in the data center. Unfortunately, disk drives are still mechanical items, and they do fail. In fact, they’re one of the higher failure-rate items. So [we want to] be able to quickly identify which disk has failed and replace it, without going through a lot of mechanical hoops.”

As with its data center and server creations, Facebook intends to “open source” its storage designs, sharing them with anyone who wants them. The effort is part of the company’s Open Compute Project, which seeks to further reduce the cost and power consumption of data center hardware by facilitating collaboration across the industry. As more companies contribute to the project, the thinking goes, the designs will improve, and as more outfits actually use the designs, prices will drop even more.

When Facebook first introduced the project last spring, many saw it as a mere PR stunt. But some big-name outfits — including some outside the web game — are already buying Open Compute servers. No less a name than Apple has taken interest in Facebook’s energy-conscious data-center design. And according to Frankovsky, fifty percent of the contributions to the project’s open source designs now come from outside Facebook.

For Peter Krey — who helped build a massive computing grid for one of Wall Street largest financial institutions and now advises the CIOs and CTOs of multiple Wall Street firms as they build “cloud” infrastructure inside their data centers — Facebook’s project is long overdue. While building that computing grid, Krey says, he and his colleagues would often ask certain “tier one” server sellers to strip proprietary hardware and unnecessary components from their machines in order to conserve power and cost. But the answer was always no. “And we weren’t buying just a few servers,” he says. “We were buying thousands of servers.”

Now, Facebook has provided a new option for these big name Wall Street outfits. But Krey also says that even among traditional companies who can probably benefit from this new breed of hardware, the project isn’t always met with open arms. “These guys have done things the same way for a long time,” he tells Wired.

Hardware by Committee

Facebook will release its new storage designs in early May at the next Open Compute Summit, a mini-conference where project members congregate to discuss this experiment in open source hardware. Such names as Intel, Dell, Netflix, Rackspace, Japanese tech giant NTT Data, and motherboard maker Asus are members, and this past fall, at the last summit, Facebook announced the creation of a not-for-profit foundation around the project, vowing to cede control to the community at large.

The project began with Facebook’s data center and server designs. But it has since expanded to various other sub-projects, and the contributors include more than just web companies. Rackspace contributes, but so does financial giant Goldman Sachs.

Rackspace is leading an effort to build a “virtual I/O” protocol, which would allow companies to physically separate various parts of today’s servers. You could have your CPUs in one enclosure, for instance, your memory in another, and your network cards in a third. This would let you, say, upgrade your CPUs without touching other parts of the traditional system. “DRAM doesn’t [change] as fast as CPUs,” Frankovsky says. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually disaggregate the CPUs from the DRAM complex?”

With a sister project, project members are also working to create a new rack design that can accommodate this sort of re-imagined server infrastructure. A traditional server rack houses several individual machines, each with its own chassis. But the Open Rack project seeks to do away with the server chassis entirely and turn the rack into the chassis.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is running an effort to build a common means for managing the hardware spread across your data center. Part of project’s appeal, says Peter Krey, is that the project takes a “holistic approach” to the design of data center hardware. Members aren’t designing the data center separately from the servers, and the servers separately from the storage gear. They’re designing everything to work in tandem. “The traditional data center design…is Balkanized,” Krey says. “[But] the OCP guys have designed and created all the components to efficiently integrate and work together.”

This began with Facebook designing servers specifically for use with the revamped electrical system built for its data center in Prineville, Oregon. And soon, the effort will extend to the storage gear as well. Frankovsky provides few details about the new storage designs. But he says his team has rethought the “hot-plug drive carriers” that let you install and remove hard drives without powering a system down.

“I’ve never understood why hot-plug drive carriers have to come with these plastic handles on them,” he explains. “And if you’ve actually mounted a drive inside one of those drive carriers, there are these little bitty screws that you inevitably lose — and you’ll likely lose one onto a board that’s live and powered. That’s not a good thing.”

He says that the new design will eliminate not only the screws but the carriers themselves. “It’s a completely tool-less design,” Frankovsky says. “Our techs will be able to grab hold of a ‘slam latch,’ pull it up, and the act of pulling it up will pop the drive out.”

Frankovsky calls it “small stuff.” And that’s what it is. But if you’re running an operation that size of Facebook, that small stuff becomes very big indeed. In making one small change after another, Facebook is overhauling its infrastructure. And in sharing its designs with the rest of the world, it hopes to overhaul much more.

-(via Wired Enterprise)