Facebook Opens New Data Center in North Carolina

The world largest social network Facebook, with 845 million active users around the world and roughly 200 million in the U.S., opened a new data center in Forest City, North Carolina on April, 19.

Two months ahead of schedule, it took Facebook only 16 months to finally put the new data center online and serve live traffic. Nearly 2000 people had spent more than 1.2 million hours of working on the site to built this new data center. Still an average of 600 construction personnel continue to be on-site every day to complete the second neighboring data center, slated to open later this year.

It is Facebook’s second custom built facility that the company has designed and built solely for its own use. The first facility is located in Prineville, Oregon,

The web giant started building its own data centers in 2011 in an effort to keep up with the exponential growth of its web services and in order to reduce the costs associated with running these massive computing facilities. To master the cost reduction Facebook formed a foundation for the Open Compute Project (OCP) to drive more innovation and a greater focus on energy efficiency in the data center industry. The company is sharing its hardware with the rest of the world through OCP, believing that if it shares its designs with the rest of the world, it can improve them and drive down the costs.

As a result of these efforts the new data center hosts a second generation of custom made web servers and is the first in testing the OCP’s outdoor-air cooling system in an environment where the temperature and humidity conditions are considered outside the range of typical data center operations.

Besides the technical advances the new data center also supports the county. 60 full time workers are employed in the data center and with the completion of the neighboring center more will follow.

Area leaders say their connection with the community has already gone beyond financial investment and jobs. As state Sen. Wes Westmoreland, R-Cleveland, noted during Thursday’s event, the company has helped donate school supplies to students in need in return for the skilled work force it’s received.

“They’re a full community partner,” added N.C. Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll, noting that Facebook has partnered with local businesses and nonprofit organizations.

(c) Picturefreedigitalphotos.net

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Reinhard von Hennigs