Facebook turns on data center at edge of the Arctic Circle

With lots of water and the cool Nordic climate, Facebook is lowering its cost to operate a data center and improving its environmental friendliness.

Dan Farber

Facebook's new data center takes advantage of the abundant water and cool climate where the Lule River meets the Gulf of Bothnia. CNET

More than 900 kilometers from Stockholm, at the edge of Arctic Circle, Facebook's latest data center is churning through status updates, messages, photos, ads, and other output from among the company's 1.1 billion worldwide users, most of whom are outside the U.S.

The 290,000 square-foot facility in Lulea, Sweden, also known as the Node Pole, takes advantage of the abundance of water and cool climate to go more green. It relies on the relatively cheap hydro-electric energy available to power its servers and the icy Nordic air to keep them cool.

In addition, the Lulea data center marks the first time the company will exclusively use its own Open Compute Project designed server hardware, according Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of infrastructure engineering. Facebook claims that the Open Compute Project "vanity free" servers can be 38 percent more efficient and 24 percent less expensive to operate than those from traditional vendors used in data centers.

The Lulea, Sweden data center requires 70 percent fewer backup generators, due to the reliable power grid in the region. Facebook

Inside Facebook's Arctic data center (pictures)

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