Google joins Facebook's effort to reinvent the data center

And Microsoft is making its own big contribution.

Facebook and Google aren't the best of friends, but they're willing to make exceptions for the right causes: Google has joined Facebook's Open Compute Project in a bid to improve data centers everywhere. It's starting off by contributing a new server rack spec that both improves power handling and lets project members' racks slip into Google computing farms. The move isn't entirely surprising, even though it involves an arch-rival. Google is no stranger to building its own hardware -- it's just offering some of that know-how to the tech industry in hopes of getting some upgrades in return.

It's not the only company making moves, either. Microsoft is contributing SONiC, or Software for Open Networking in the Cloud. The code should help companies build switches and other networking gear using open source, widely compatible technology. While you probably won't see a lot of these collaborations first-hand, you might just notice the difference if your favorite cloud services run that much faster or supply you with more storage.