Monday, June 20, 2011
In November of 2010, Facebook announced plans to build a new mega data center in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Typically, projects of this nature take a long time to complete. However, Facebook is accelerating the process and plans to open the new facility during the first quarter of 2012, Data Center Knowledge reports.
According to the report, the facility's outer shell has already been constructed. The structure leaves approximately 300,000 square feet of space for cooling and power infrastructure, servers and offices. Facebook will likely maximize what it can do with that space.
The report explained Facebook has established itself as a company that tends to focus on environmental efficiency when it builds its data centers. This is clearly exhibited at the company's Prineville, Oregon, facility, which uses free cooling most of the year. However, the report explained free cooling will not be as easy to come by in North Carolina and Facebook will have to take more creative measures to match the Prineville facility's efficiency.
While free cooling is not as much of an option, the report does expect Facebook to replicate many of the efficiency features it used in Prineville. One such system is a heating method that often accompanies free cooling, but is not inherently tied to the technology.
The system involves establishing a special exhaust system to quickly and efficiently move hot air away from servers. The exhaust platform then reroutes the heated air to offices and other parts of the facility to keep them at a comfortable temperature without investing in dedicated heating infrastructure.
Data Center Knowledge also discussed evaporative cooling as a technology used in Prineville that could also make its way to North Carolina. Evaporative cooling systems replace traditional chillers and also conserve as much water as possible to dramatically increase data center efficiency.
Water is becoming a key part of the data center because more companies are turning to liquid cooling systems to keep servers at safe operating temperatures. A recent New York Times report explains that both Google and PEER 1 Hosting are using water-based cooling systems. One of Google's water-based cooling systems involves turning seawater from the Baltic Sea into a data center coolant for a facility in Finland. PEER 1 Hosting, on the other hand, uses an innovative recycled water sprayer to chill metal plates that cool air as it passes through them.