Enterprise Hardware

New Facebook Data Center Uses All Home-Grown Servers

New Facebook Data Center Uses All Home-Grown Servers
June 14, 2013 2:03PM

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Nearly all the technology in the new Facebook data center in Lulea, Sweden, from the servers to the power distribution systems, is based on Open Compute Project designs. The designs are highly efficient and Facebook shares them openly with the broader community, so anyone can use or improve them.

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Facebook has opened the doors, so to speak, to its new data center in Lulea, Sweden. The data center marks a first for the social networking giant in two ways: It's the first in Europe and it's the first to be equipped with all Facebook-designed servers. The servers are handling live traffic from around the world.

The data center debut is the first full fruits of the company's Open Compute Project. Facebook started the project nearly two years ago with a goal to build one of the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost. By releasing the Open Compute Project technologies as open hardware, Facebook's goal is to develop servers and data centers following the model traditionally associated with open source software projects.

"All the equipment inside is powered by locally generated hydro-electric energy. Not only is it 100 percent renewable, but the supply is also so reliable that we have been able to reduce the number of backup generators required at the site by more than 70 percent," the company said in a news release. "In addition to harnessing the power of water, we are using the chilly Nordic air to cool the thousands of servers that store your photos, videos, comments, and Likes. Any excess heat that is produced is used to keep our office warm."

Cutting Out the Middle Man

Facebook said its commitment to energy efficiency is also evident inside Lulea's giant data halls. Nearly all the technology in the facility, from the servers to the power distribution systems, is based on Open Compute Project designs. The designs are highly efficient and leave out unnecessary bits of metal and plastic. These designs are then shared with the broader community, so anyone can use or improve them.

According to Facebook, all this adds-up to a pretty impressive power usage efficiency (PUE) number. In early tests, Facebook's Lulea data center is averaging a PUE in the region of 1.07. As with our other data centers, the company said it will soon be adding a real-time PUE monitor so everyone can see how it is performing on a minute-by-minute basis.

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said Facebook isn't the first company that has pursued the open hardware course. And there have been rumors around Google and other large cloud hyper-scale Web 2.0 companies pursuing initiatives to come up with their own server design and outsource the construction rather than relying on traditional server vendors. (continued...)

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Joe IT Guy:

Posted: 2013-06-15 @ 9:21am PT
I applaud Facebook for trying to build data centers that are environmentally friendly, but how much of the effort is self-serving? Does it ultimately just give them more control to mine customer data and make their advertising system even more invasive?



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