Facebook opens North Carolina data center, touts efficiency

Social-networking giant opens its second green facility for storing online data for its 845 million users.

Last year, Facebook executives discussed their green data center plans with reporters. One executive showed this shot inside a Facebook's data center that uses blue LED lights instead of cheaper green LED lights.
Last year, Facebook executives discussed their green data center plans with reporters. One executive showed this shot inside a Facebook data center. James Martin/CNET

Facebook has completed its second data center, a facility in North Carolina the company says is one of the most energy-efficient centers housing data in the world.

The Forest City center will have a projected power usage effectiveness (PuE) measurement of 1.06 to 1.08, Facebook said in a post on its Web site. Research from The Uptime Institute shows that the typical data center has an average PuE of 1.8, which means that for every 1.8 watts in at the utility meter, only one watt is delivered out. The company's first data center, in Prineville, Ore., also ranks high on power efficiency.

The new center goes online as the popular social network's 845 million users are storing and accessing billions of photos, videos, and status messages daily. A second building at the Forest City site is expected to be completed later this year.

The Forest City facility is unique in several ways. It's the first major deployment of the v2 Open Compute Project Web servers, which are some of the first to use Intel's Sandy Bridge processor. It also is the first live test of the project's outdoor-air cooling designs "in an environment where temperature and humidity conditions are considered to be outside the range of typical data center operations," Facebook said.

The Forest City data center took 16 months to build, with nearly 2,000 people working on it for more than 1.2 million hours, the company said.

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