With more than 845 million users and counting, Facebook generates a lot of Big Data. Managing it all takes a lot of space and a lot of energy. After 16 months, Facebook’s new data center is up and running. It only took 2,000 people, and 1.2 million hours, to get the server farms online. Facebook now has two data centers in the United States. The first is located in Prineville, Oregon; the new one is in Forest City, North Carolina.
What makes this data center so special? Recently, Wikibon wrote an article about green data centers in which it was mentioned that Facebook’s data centers are not very energy efficient. It was reported that 53.2% of their energy came from burning coal. To avoid more PR flops, Facebook is working on making their image a little more green. They built a green data center in Sweden that uses the colder climate of the country to cool its facility. Now Facebook claims that their data center in North Carolina is one of the most energy effecient in the world. In a recent article they say it will have a power utilization effectiveness (PuE) measurement of 1.06 to 1.08 for the entire facility, similar to their facility in Oregon. According to the Uptime Institute, the average PuE for data centers is 1.8.
The Forest City facility executes several firsts for Facebook. It is the first data center to utilize Open Compute Project’s outdoor-air cooling designs in an area that would previously been considered outside of the temperature and humidity range for data centers. This facility is also the first to use the v2 Open Compute Project web servers, which are the first to operate with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor. The Open Compute Project is a computing infrastructure that was built from the ground up in order to make it more efficient. It is 38% more efficient and 24% less expensive than other state-of-the-art data centers. Best of all, it’s open hardware. Anyone can use the technology or build on it.
As they continue work on their second building for the Forest City data center, we hope that Facebook and other companies continue to make improvements in energy efficiency. Every effort to preserve the environment helps. It is up to consumers to hold companies accountable for the choices companies make.