On Wednesday, Facebook announced “Wedge”. For layman, think of it as a crucial hardware device that transports Internet information between machines (like a networking switch).
What you don’t know is that Wedge is part of the Open Compute Project (OCP) which is being led by Najam Ahmad, the director of Technical Operations at Facebook. Najam, who was born in Karachi, Pakistan, holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from NED University of Engineering and Technology and later on went to do his Master of Science in Telecommunication Protocols and Computer Science from The George Washington University and prior to Facebook, Najam was the General Manager of Global Networking Services at Microsoft where he looked after the operations, overall architecture, design & implementation of Microsoft’s global online network.
This basically means that Facebook (and other companies who support the OCP) will be able to use and contribute to the open hardware design of these switches and this is bad news for vendors like HP, Dell and Cisco who basically have the monopoly over the $150 billion data center hardware market.
Najam’s role in this whole project, though limited, gives us hope and motivation as there are still hundreds and thousands of engineers here in Pakistan who dream of going to the Silicon Valley and making an impact that can change the world and now they have someone to look up to.