On Wednesday, Facebook introduced Wedge, making good on its promise from last year to push into the $23 billion Ethernet switch market, currently dominated by Cisco.
Wedge is part of the Open Compute Project (OCP), one of the most important tech projects Facebook has ever created. OCP began in 2012 as a radically new way to build and buy computer hardware. It creates free and “open source” designs where anyone can contribute to the designs and use them for free, ordering them from a contract manufacturer.
The hardware it designs ranges from computer servers to hard drives to the racks that hold them all. While Facebook still leads the project, it has grown into an industry phenom. In 2013, Facebook saved “over $1 billion” by using the hardware invented by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.