Feeds

Get out your Allen keys: Facebook's cooked up flat-pack bit barns

'Rapid deployment data center' concept dumps containers, will debut in Sweden

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Facebook has revealed the design for its new data centre, to be built in the Swedish town of Luleå.

The new design was discussed at January’s Open Compute Summit. Facebook has now detailed the design and its ambition for a design process “that would look less like a construction project and more like a manufactured product.”

Facebook's first idea was “... employing pre-assembled steel frames 12 feet in width and 40 feet in length,” because “This is similar in concept to basing the assembly of a car on a chassis: build the frame, and then attach components to it on an assembly line. In this model, cable trays, power busways, containment panels, and even lighting are pre-installed in a factory.”

The frame containing these services is shipped to a data centre. That's a different approach to other cloud-scale operators, who have in the past used shipping containers filled with services and racks that will eventually hold servers. Facebook thinks shipping empty racks is inefficient. Instead, it proposes to ship the services chassis to a data centre, safe in the knowledge the building's slab has posts in the right places so it can be bolted into place quickly and easily.

The company has also designed a set of “standard building products like metal studs and preassembled unitized containment panels” that can be assembled on site, an arrangement it feels is preferable to the “ high capacity roof structure” used in its older bit barns that required “a lot of work on lifts and assembly on site.” The new arrangement uses only materials “limited to a width of 8 feet to maximize the amount of material that can be shipped on a flatbed trailer without requiring special permits for wide loads.”

One of Facebook's flat-pack data centre frames

Insert [A] into [B]; Tighten; Insert servers. Your Bit Barn will be operational!

This approach is, Facebook says, "inspired by the flat-pack assemblies made famous by Ikea."

Facebook's willing to put its money where its ideas are: the company says its second bit barn in Luleå will use the new approach, which it has dubbed the “rapid deployment data center”.

It's not, however, saying how much time or money it expects to save. Maybe that's because, as anyone who has made multiple trips to IKEA to retrieve missing parts can attest, even products designed for low cost and easy assembly can go awry. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.