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Facebook turns on frigid Swedish ice-maidens in new data centre

And by maidens, we mean slim, 'vanity-free', low-maintenance models

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If you Like this post, some of the processing that spams it all over your Facebook wall could now take place in Europe, thanks to the opening of Facebook's new data center near the Arctic circle.

The social networking giant announced on Wednesday that its 900,000 square foot facility in Lulea, Sweden, is now "handling live traffic from around the world" – giving users lower latency when accessing the social network, and Swedish spooks the opportunity to hoover up all the data passing through Zuck & Co's bit barn.

Opening of the facility appears to have been delayed by around half a year, as when Facebook first announced it in October 2011, the company said the facility would be serving Facebook users within 12 months. At the time of writing Facebook hadn't responded to a request for information on reasons for the delay.

The Lulea, Sweden facility is expected to be one of the most efficient public data centers in the world thanks to its use of fresh air cooling and earth-friendly energy via use of power generated by hydroelectric dams.

Its opening also blows a chill wind for traditional IT suppliers, as it is a poster child for Facebook's radical new approach to hardware design.

"Nearly all the technology in the facility, from the servers to the power distribution systems, is based on Open Compute Project designs," the company beamed in a blog post on Wednesday. "This Facebook-founded initiative encourages the development of 'vanity-free' hardware designs that 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."

Facebook says the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of the facility should be 1.07 – which means that for every watt spent on powering IT gear, .07 watts are spent on the supporting equipment that keeps the social networking humming.

This compares well with the rest of the IT industry, whose trailing PUE average tends to fall between 1.5 and 1.8, depending on who you ask. Facebook's facility may even beat best-in-class data centers from Google on this metric, as they run at between 1.08 and 1.12

But due to a controversial internet surveillance law named FRA, the Swedes will be able to intercept any traffic that passes through their borders. We here on El Reg's warrant-less government surveillance desk feel sorry for the spooks that will now have to stare at the flood of social data streaming into their country. But then again, their plight is nothing next to those working at the NSA, who have allegedly been staring at everything that passes through Facebook anyway. ®

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