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Facebook contributes 'Group Hug' motherboard spec to Open Compute Project

Hug it out! A new motherboard specification designed by Facebook brings chipmakers together.

Frank Frankovsky, Facebook's hardware design guy, shows off a "Group Hug" board at the Open Compute Summit. Open Compute Summit

Hippie love is coming to a motherboard near you thanks to a new common slot architecture developed by Facebook.

Frank Frankovsky, Facebook's vice president of hardware design and supply chain, today announced that the company has contributed its newest motherboard specification, cutely nicknamed "Group Hug," to the Open Compute Program. Engineers at the social network founded the project 18 months ago to kick-start development around a more efficient computing infrastructure. The program has previously given birth to Open Rack and Open Vault specifications.

Facebook's Group Hug specification makes possible entirely vendor-neutral motherboards. The specification uses a PCIe x8 connector to link the SOCs (systems on chip) to the board, Frankovsky said. Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro, Calxeda, and Intel are already supporting the Group Hug board.

Group Hug "shows for the first time that we can have different vendor CPU technologies on the same system," Frankovsky told attendees at an Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

Group Hug is part of a larger Open Compute goal to break up the status quo of monolithic hardware design and help data center operators build more flexible systems.