Cloud computing has rewritten decades of technology rules. Take a closer look at 10 innovators who helped make it possible.
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Frank Frankovsky worked as Dell's director of Data Center Solutions during the crucial period of 2006-2009, building up the hardware maker's ability to sell rack-mount servers to search engine and Web service companies seeking to build new, more efficient data centers.
The unit's been a key, behind-the-scenes business that has kept Dell a leading player in server hardware. If Data Center Solutions had been broken out as a separate business, it would have been the number-three seller of servers in the U.S. in early 2010, Dell executives told InformationWeek during a visit to the Dell campus.
In October 2009, Frankovsky become director of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook during a crucial period in its expansion. While there, he advocated that cloud server design be based on publicly pooled intelligence, despite Google's insistence that its server and data center designs were a competitive advantage. In April 2011, Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook officials announced the launch of the Open Compute project to set standards for efficient cloud servers.
"The benefits of sharing so far outweigh the benefits of keeping it all closed," Frankovsky told Venture Beat in July 2012.
As an organizer of the OpenCompute.org project, Frankovsky helped pull in innovative and potentially competing projects behind the Open Compute standard. Financial services companies had watched the Google example and sought cloud computing servers of their own. Intel and AMD had been asked by their Wall Street customers to produce their version of a cloud server, examples that were donated to the new organization.
"What began a few short months ago as an audacious idea -- what if hardware were open? -- is now a fully formed industry initiative, with a clear vision, a strong base to build from and significant momentum," Frankovsky wrote in an Oct. 27, 2011 blog.
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