Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Facebook April 7 launched its Open Compute Project, an unprecedented play to open source the specifications it employs for its hardware and data center to efficiently power a social network comprising 600 million-plus people.

For the Open Compute Project, Facebook is publishing specs and mechanical designs used to construct its motherboards, power supply, server chassis, and server and battery cabinets. GigaOm has hard data points on the specs.

The company is also open sourcing specs for its data center’s electrical and mechanical construction, including technical specs and mechanical CAD files.

The move is a significant departure from strategies of other companies, such as Google, Twitter, and Amazon, which closely guard their data center and hardware specifications to maintain a competitive edge in the cutthroat cloud-computing market.

"We think it’s time to demystify the biggest capital expense of an online business—the infrastructure," said Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations at Facebook, at a media event at the company’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters today.

Facebook broke ground on its first dedicated data center in Prineville, Ore., in January 2010. The data center employs an evaporative cooling system to cool the incoming air, as opposed to traditional chiller systems that require more energy-intensive equipment.

With the assistance of chipmakers AMD and Intel and server providers HP and Dell, Facebook engineers have spent tens of millions of dollars building custom servers and power supplies in the past year.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Facebook Open Sources Server, Data Center Specs.