Feeds

Inside Facebook's engineering labs: Hardware heaven, HP hell – PICTURES

Better duck, Amazon... Hardware drone incoming

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Garage band: 30 drives, one slim container

One good example of this approach yielding something of real value to the giant is found in "Knox" – an advanced storage chassis that allows Facebook to cram 30 drives into a svelte container.

fbl11

An early version of Facebook's 'Knox' system

As befitting Facebook's location in Silicon Valley, the Knox prototype (pictured), was first put together in the garage of Facebook engineer Jon Ehlen, he tells us via email.

fbl9

By prototyping the design, Facebook was able to test the slide-out hard drive mechanism

This prototype used "plywood as the server tray, a 50lb weight to simulate the total weight of the device, and surfboard foam (pictured) to mimic the dimensions of the hard drives," he explained via email.

By building the prototype, the engineers were able to test out the characteristic Open Compute Project sled design, Ehlen says.

fbl10

A later version of the prototype saw Facebook work with an ODM to mock-up the final design

As the design progressed, the engineers adopted other materials until they progressed from a wood mock-up to a full sheet metal prototype (pictured) manufactured with an original device manufacturer, as seen here.

"This was still "hacked" insofar as the design was very rough, and a Facebook mechanical engineer worked on-site at the sheet metal factory to modify and create new parts as they came off the sheet metal presses," Ehlen said.

The end result was Knox: a storage array now in production use at Facebook's Prineville, Oregon storage facility.

But for all the apparent usefulness of the hardware lab, it also seems like an ad-funded mecca for hardware fondlers. During our visit, Corddry told us about some of the company's less successful hacks, and said that about 10 months ago some engineers built a quadcopter strong enough to carry a hard drive around. "There was a quadcopter with a hard drive attached to it flying all over the campus late one night," Corddry said. Eat your heart out, Amazon. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
No biggie: EMC's XtremIO firmware upgrade 'will wipe data'
But it'll have no impact and will be seamless, we're told
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.