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Intel to provide Facebook with hardware, Jedi secrets

An agreement between the two companies means that Facebook has picked Intel's servers to power its next round of infrastructure growth, and that Intel will take on a bit of an advisory role at the social network.

Recent rumors of Intel employees signing up for Facebook accounts en masse might not have been totally unfounded: Facebook has chosen to use Intel's Xeon 5400 processor-based servers to deal with its hardware and software demands. Additionally, the two companies have signed an agreement so that Intel can continue to assess how Facebook can stay stable and improve performance.

Facebook will have "thousands" of Xeon servers, a release said.

It's not an earth-shattering announcement by any means, but Intel's pretty psyched. "Intel is excited to engage with Facebook as they are a dynamic force in the evolution of the Internet," Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group, said in Thursday's release. "Facebook's selection of Intel Xeon processors for their next round of infrastructure growth is a testament to the performance, energy efficiency and technology benefits Intel can provide." Translation: it's a big deal for Intel to be able to say it makes the hardware of choice for Silicon Valley's cool kids.

Facebook's not growing quite as fast as it once was, but it's still been expanding steadily and now has over 90 million active users across the globe. With photo- and video-sharing now an essential part of social networks, their server demands can skyrocket--and it was technical difficulties that likely doomed the initial frenzy of growth at social-networking pioneer Friendster, as early execs willingly attest.