Home The Latest Inside Facebook's Prineville data center

Inside Facebook's Prineville data center

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, December 01, 2011

Web giants like Google and Amazon are notoriously secretive about what goes on inside of their data centers. Meanwhile, Facebook "open sourced" the designs for its Prineville data center and its custom-built servers. So just what does go on inside of those mysterious computing facilities? Wired decided to find out.

Facebook built its data center in Prineville because it’s on the high desert. Patchett calls it “the Tibet of North America.” The town sits on a plateau about 2,800 feet above sea level, in the “rain shadow” of the Cascade Mountains, so the air is both cool and dry. Rather than use power-hungry water chillers to cool its servers, Patchett and company can pull the outside air into the facility and condition it as needed. If the air is too cold for the servers, they can heat it up — using hot air that has already come off the servers themselves — and if the outside air is too hot, they can cool it down with evaporated water.
In the summer, Prineville temperatures may reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but then they drop back down to the 40s in the evenings. Eric Klann, Prineville’s city engineer, whose family goes back six generations in central Oregon, says Facebook treats its data center much like the locals treat their homes. “Us country hicks have been doing this a long time,” says Klann, with tongue in cheek. “You open up your windows at night and shut them during the day.”
The added twist is that Facebook can also cool the air during those hot summer days.
All this is done in the data center’s penthouse — a space the size of an aircraft carrier, split into seven separate rooms. One room filters the air. Another mixes in hot air pumped up from the server room below. A third cools the air with atomized water. And so on. With the spinning fans and the neverending rush of air, the penthouse is vaguely reminiscent of the room with the “fizzy lifting drinks” in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe float to the ceiling of Wonka’s funhouse. It’s an analogy Patchett is only too happy to encourage.

Read more from Wired.

 

 

Comments   

 
Steve M
0 #1 Facebook's Green Data CenterSteve M 2011-12-02 15:43:33
Sounds like Facebook has put a lot of money into building a state-of-the-ar t data center that is easy on the environment. Glad to see they're putting their profits to good use and stimulating the Oregon economy at the same time. At Reliant IT in Salem, Oregon we built our data center right on the backbone of the internet so our clients get super fast processing for their business apps. www.reliantit.us.com
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
henry
0 #2 Data Centerhenry 2011-12-09 18:51:42
I read that the Carolina grading company, Wayne Bros., were contracted for the site development of the new Facebook Data Center. They had a challenging time due to the aggressive project schedule and adverse weather conditions.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

Fast Food Slows Down

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits announced

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

100NP14logo4WebOregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS