When you think of Facebook, I can guarantee that the first that that pops into your head is not hardware, especially because of Mark Zuckerberg's repeated statements about not building a Facebook phone.
The company has made strides in that area though, mostly through its Open Compute Project (OPC): an initiative that develops servers and data centers with participating partner hardware manufacturers. Now the man who has spearheaded that initiative for years is taking his leave.
Frank Frankovsky, Facebook's long-time VP of hardware design and supply chain, has left his job at Facebook in order to build his own company, he announced via a Facebook post on Tuesday.
"Facebook has been an incredible place to work over the past 4+ years but its time for me to move on to new challenges," he wrote. "The work we have done together to custom design the most efficient data centers and server/storage systems with a small but mighty team was an awesome experience that I will always have fond memories of!"
Frankovsky has worked at the company since 2009, spending the first two and a half years as Director of Hardware Design and Supply Chain, before being promoted to Vice President of the division in February 2012.
It seems that Frankovsky's departure was not unexpected. His role has already been filled by Jason Taylor, Facebook's director of infrastructure, a company spokesperson confirmed to me. In fact, Taylor stepped into that role almost a year ago, as Frankovsky began to put his focus more and more on building out the OPC instead.
"I remember when I joined Facebook in 2009 feeling like a fish out of water as one of the few hardware people at a software company," he said. "I’m extremely proud of the excellent hardware engineering and supply chain teams we’ve built since those early days and look forward to seeing what you all develop and share in the future!"
Frankovsky will continue as Chairman and President of the OCP Foundation, and says he still plans to work with Facebook through the project. Taylor, as well and Bill Laing from Microsoft, are also joining the OCP board of directors.
"Frank was a valuable member of the Facebook team. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the Open Compute Project, and we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors," Facebook said in a statement.
So what else is next for Frankovsky?
"I am planning to work on a new open-source hardware business focused on developing and delivering optical technology for capacity-optimized storage needs," he wrote. "I look forward to sharing more details about this new business as the plans come together."
(Image source: datacenterknowledge.com)