Facebook Building Data Center in Oregon
Social networking behemoth Facebook announced it has broken
ground on for a data center in Prineville, Ore. Facebook's vice president of
technical operations Jonathan Heiliger said the company is upscaling their technical
infrastructure to meet the demands of their users, which number 350 million
worldwide. The building will showcase several energy-saving and "green"
technologies, such as an evaporative cooling system, an airside economizer and
the re-use of server heat.
The evaporative cooling system evaporates water to cool the
incoming air, as opposed to traditional chiller systems that require more
energy intensive equipment and minimizes water consumption by using outside
air. The facility will be cooled by bringing in colder air from the outside.
This feature will operate for between 60 percent and 70 percent of the year and
the remainder of the year requires the use of the evaporative cooling system to
meet temperature and humidity requirements. A portion of the excess heat
created by the computer servers will be captured and used to heat office space
in the facility during the colder months.
"It is important to understand what a data center is and how
it impacts your Facebook experience. A data center is a central location that
houses thousands of computer servers, which are networked together and linked
to the outside world through fiber optic cables," Heilger explained. "Think of
a data center as essentially one very large computer that contains the
collective computing infrastructure to make web properties, like Facebook,
The data center will also feature proprietary Uninterruptible
Power Supply (UPS) technology. The Prineville data center will use a new,
patent-pending UPS system that reduces electricity usage by as much as 12
percent. Heilger said the company has needed to add more servers and data
center capacity to keep up with the increasing number of people who are joining
the site. Oregon newspaper The Bulletinreported the town's enterprise zone,
which permitted Facebook to receive a $2.8 million tax break per year, was a
critical part of the decision. "If the enterprise zone didn't exist in
Prineville, this project would not be moving forward," Jason Carr, manager of
the Prineville office of Economic Development for Central Oregon, told the
"Initially, as most Internet startups do, we leased data center space alongside other companies in the same building," Heilger wrote on the company blog. "As our user base continued to grow and we developed Facebook into a much richer service, we reached the point where it was more efficient to lease entire buildings on our own. We are now ready to build our own."