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Facebook reveals plan for new archival data centre

Bit barn will hold all the photos you don't care about any more

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Facebook has discussed details of a new data centre it is building to house photos nobody looks at any more.

The Social Network TM already has two data centres in the spot the new one will splash down, namely the town of Prineville, Oregon. Facebook's going back to Prineville because the town's altitude and climate mean its air is nicely dry and chilly, just the combination to help with passive cooling of a data centre and thereby keep energy costs low. Power costs can also be low in Oregon, which boasts a string of dams along local rivers.

The new data centre won't just enjoy the cold: The Oregonian says it will also be a “cold” facility as the kit within won't be switched on most of the time. That's because the new bit barn will be used to store files users don't access very often. Facebook has a lot of those: apparently 82 per cent of traffic goes towards eight per cent of its photos.

Facebook knows the cold storage arrangement will mean a wait for old photos, but with operating costs for this data centre said to be one third of those in “hot” facilities it won't mind a bit if you wait a bit for your bits.

The Oregonian says the facility will have three data halls, each capable of storing one exabyte. Plans call for the first to open in the northern hemisphere's autumn. ®

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