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Dell Owes Facebook a Thank You

We've known for years that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) creates its own servers. To date, the search king has kept quiet on the secret sauce that makes its machines special.

Whether that's folly isn't important. What is? Judo. Facebook -- ever the Google adversary -- is using The Big G's secrecy against it by revealing exactly how it creates power-saving servers and in the process has created an interesting and perhaps even disruptive opportunity for Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) .

The Social Network yesterday shared its custom server designs as part of the unveiling of what it calls the Open Compute Project, an open-source effort to share best practices in energy-efficient data center design. Jonathan Heiliger, Facebook's vice president for technical operations, provided details in a blog post and this video:

The claims are striking. Facebook says the greened servers -- which power the company's Pineville, Ore., data center -- produce the same computing horsepower as its remaining facilities yet use 38% less energy and cost 24% less to operate.

As a human being who believes in environmental stewardship, I like seeing green breakthroughs. I'd prefer my children grow up to breathe fresh air.

As an investor, I like that the Open Compute Project could make it more attractive to deploy servers for on-demand cloud computing. Anything that strengthens the links in the cloud computing value chain increases the value of those involved -- especially Google and data transport service providers such as Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) and Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD  ) .

But in the end, it's Dell that could have the most to gain from the Open Compute Project. Although the spec was created with the help of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) , Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , it's Dell that has already built servers based on the Open Compute design.

Given Facebook's success at scaling and squeezing profit from its business, Dell has all it needs to pitch its Open Compute-compliant servers. Expect big customers to bite.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about Facebook's servers, the Open Compute project, and the cloud computing value chain using the comments box below.

The Motley Fool recently introduced a free My Watchlist feature that allows users to stay ahead of the curve and receive up-to-date news on companies like Dell, or any of its competitors. To get the most recent Dell news and analysis, add the company to your watchlist today:

Google and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Akamai, Google, and Riverbed Technology are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended members create a diagonal call position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Intel and has purchased Intel calls. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy would like to thank you for reading this far.

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