How Efficient Are Facebook’s Data Centers?

By David Cohen 

Facebook is going public with the results of its efficiency efforts at its data centers in Prineville, Ore., and Forest City, N.C., debuting two public dashboards that display real-time data for the data centers’ PUE (power usage effectiveness) and WUE (water usage effectiveness) levels.

The social network made the announcement on the Open Compute Project website, adding that it will add a dashboard for its data center in Luleå, Sweden, once that facility comes online.

Facebook Sustainability Team Program Manager Lyrica McTiernan added in the announcement about the dashboards’ debut:

We began sharing PUE for our Prineville data center at the end of the second quarter of 2011 and released our first Prineville WUE in the summer of 2012. Now we’re pulling back the curtain to share some of the same information that our data center technicians view every day. We’ll continue updating our annualized averages as we have in the past, and you’ll be able to find them on the Prineville and Forest City dashboards, right below the real-time data.

Why are we doing this? Well, we’re proud of our data center efficiency, and we think it’s important to demystify data centers and share more about what our operations really look like. Through the Open Compute Project, we’ve shared the building and hardware designs for our data centers. These dashboards are the natural next step, since they answer the question, “What really happens when those servers are installed and the power’s turned on?”

Readers: Would you like to see other companies with similar facilities to Facebook’s data centers share their efficiency information?