Feeds

Facebook plans vast data center in Iowa

Plonks FarmVille into farm land

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Facebook's fourth gigantic data center will be in Iowa, a state already favored by major infrastructure operators due to its renewable utility options.

The new data center in Altoona, Iowa, will be the company's fourth dedicated bit barn, along with facilities in Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden. The official confirmation comes after local newspaper, the Des Moines Register, broke news of the company's plans on Friday.

As with the other facilities, the data center will be loaded with Open Compute Project server designs, along with fresh air-cooling systems. But it will also bring with it some new technologies, including "evolutionary improvements to the building design, networking architecture, and more," Jay Parikh, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure engineering, said in a blog post announcing the move.

Facebook will invest a minimum of $299.5m into the 476,000-square foot facility. The build-out will create "hundreds" of construction jobs and "dozens" of full-time operations jobs, Iowa governor Terry Branstad trumpeted in a blog post. The 194-acre site the data center is built upon could accommodate two more data centers of equivalent size, Terry indicated.

Facebook is not the first major infrastructure operator to move to Iowa. Google started the build-out of a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 2007, and announced plans to expands its facility there in 2012. To date, the Chocolate Factory has spent some $1.1bn on its vast bit barn.

"We plan to break ground this summer and expect to begin serving user traffic in 2014," Facebook's Parikh said. "We're excited to have found a new home in Iowa, which has an abundance of wind-generated power and is home to a great talent pool that will help build and operate the facility."

Facebook Iowa data center

Facebook's Iowa bit barn will be 476,000-square feet

The artist's impression of the data center (pictured) indicates that the entirety of one of the facility's perimeter walls will be given over to a large air filtration and cooling system. As with other data centers, the picture shows external backup generators and AC systems. At the time of writing, Facebook had not responded to our queries about the site's networking and structural design.

Gaining access to renewable energy has become a priority for major data center operators, after a vocal campaign by Greenpeace highlighted the fact that no matter how efficient a data center is, it's still very bad for the environment if it's owner is provisioning power from coal-derived utilities.

In 2011, 20 per cent of Iowa's energy came from wind, according to the Iowa Utility Board. And this 20 per cent is a serious amount of power, representing 3,675MW of wind capacity in 2011. A typical data center will consume ten or twenty megawatts of power. Google's global fleet of bit barns consume a little under 260MW, The Register understands, so Facebook's renewable use represents a mere breeze in the howling gale of Iowa's energy market. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.