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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Desktop Linux users beware: the boss thinks you need to be managed
VMware reveals VDI for Linux desktops plan, plus China lab to do the development
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Hey - who wants 4.8 TERABYTES almost AS FAST AS MEMORY?
China's Memblaze says they've got it in PCIe. Yow
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO
If the web giants need it to work, hey, maybe it'll work
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
Storage array giants can use Azure to evacuate their back ends
Site Recovery can help to move snapshots around
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.