Data Center Innovation: Developing and Broadening with the Community in Mind

July 18, 2018

Over the last few years, LinkedIn members have started to engage with the platform in exciting new ways. Instead of just posting short-form text updates, they’re also sharing long-form posts, photos, and videos. This is driving exponential growth in global site traffic demands and a corresponding increase in the demands made of our data centers. As a result, my team faced an interesting problem: we needed to find new ways to innovate for this kind of hyperscale growth.

Community involvement

We realize we’re not alone in facing the challenges of rapidly-expanding data center footprints, so to solve this problem, we’re looking beyond our own walls to partner with the larger community.

This May, LinkedIn became a Platinum member of the Open Compute Project (OCP). OCP is an obvious industry partner for us, given the mission of the organization: “To apply the benefits of open source hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in, near, and around the data center and beyond.” In the weeks and months to come, as we continue exploring the best solutions for hyperscale challenges, we also intend to contribute rack and server technology to OCP. We look forward to continuing discussions with the organization to exchange ideas and expertise.

In terms of internal innovation, we’re leveraging our Open19 technology. Today, we’re pleased to share that we’re currently putting the finishing touches on deploying it within our own LinkedIn data centers. This technology deployment has proven very valuable as we’ve experienced 7X improvement in rack integration and an ability to install 4X the number of servers per rack. It’s through our continued development of this technology and work with the Open19 Foundation that we look forward to further innovation in this space.

Our new partnership with OCP and continued work with the Open19 Foundation builds on LinkedIn’s long list of collaborations with similarly-minded industry groups, including the OCP SONiC community, Linux Foundation, and International Datacenter Authority (IDCA), with an eye towards helping shape the data center of the future.

What’s next?

Please keep an eye out for further updates on how we are innovating, with the help of the community, to solve the challenges of hyperscale growth. We’ll be sharing more details on the specifics of the deployment of Open19 technology at LinkedIn in the weeks to come. We’re still in the early phases of our membership with OCP, but are confident that exciting things lie ahead.