UPDATED 09:11 EDT / AUGUST 25 2010

Facebook Denies Alleged Rumor of Shift to ARM

To those who are keeping track, Facebook’s transfer to a new server may seem like a really interesting idea. It would have caused waves in the industry, sparking debates around optimal cloud storage for the enterprise; but unfortunately, “This story is completely false,” according to Jonathan Heiliger, Facebook’s vice president of technical operations, as he denies the rumor by posting a comment on a story flaunting the fallacy, reports Forbes.

He also added that, “Facebook continuously evaluates and helps develop new technologies we believe will improve the performance, efficiency or reliability of our infrastructure.  However, we have no plans to deploy ARM servers in our Prineville, Oregon data center.”

ARM designs are common only to smart phones and other devices of minimal power consumption, while Facebook requires something designed with x86 processors, such as those that power most of the world’s laptops and desktop computers which is what Facebook is currently using.  But what’s actually interesting is that ARM will release a new chip design capable of supporting virtualization. From ARM:

“Arm Holdings will soon release a new processor design that can run virtualization software, a development that could help expand the use of Arm-based chips in low-powered servers”

This sounds provoking and attractive. Perhaps Facebook will consider the use of AMD chip designs and shift of servers, seeking to dive into a lower cost structure and expand its mobile platform offerings.   x86 processors are manufactured by Intel and AMD, and trends continue to point to lower server and storage costs.  A comparative analysis here.


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