Facebook Doubles Size Of Planned Data Center

Prineville Data Center Power GeneratorWhen Facebook started work on its first wholly owned data center almost eight months ago, it was heading towards 400 million users worldwide and plans were set for a 147,000 square foot facility. But the explosive growth of the social networking site – now with a user base of 500 million worldwide – has prompted plans for a huge upgrade before the center is even built.

Facebook announced today that it would more than double the size of the data center in Prineville, Oregon- adding an additional 160,000 square foot with plans to build out the shell to accommodate more servers, “as business needs dictate”.

“We are making excellent progress on the first phase of our Prineville Data Center and we are hoping to finish construction of that phase in the first quarter of 2011,” said Tom Furlong, director of site operations for Facebook. “To meet the needs of our growing business, we have decided to go ahead with the second phase of the project, which was an option we put in place when we broke ground earlier this year. The second phase should be finished by early 2012.”

During construction, there are between 150 to 200 workers on site on any given day and the expansion will create more construction employment. The Prineville Data Center is to create 35 long-term jobs as well.

The company has designed the center to be energy efficient to lessen its environmental impact. This includes an evaporative cooling system that uses less energy that traditional chiller systems, an airside economizer that will bring in colder air from outside for about two thirds of the year, and the reuse of server heat in the cooler months.

However, Greenpeace is campaigning against Facebook’s decision to build the data center somewhere where the majority of electricity comes from coal, rather than renewable sources. The data center will use 30MW of energy when operating – enough to power 30,000 homes. The environmental organization has started a page on Facebook (replicated in several languages) to spearhead a campaign to get the site to take a leadership position for the IT industry by using 100% renewable energy.