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

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
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
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.