Facebook Announces Second Data Center, in North Carolina

By Sara Inés Calderón Comment

Facebook announced plans today to open a second data center in Forest City in Rutherford County, North Carolina. The company said in a press release that the move is part of a policy of moving user data from leased data centers to cost-effective, customized facilities.

A press release from North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue notes that Facebook is set to invest $450 million initially in the new facility, which will take 18 months to construct.  During construction, about 250 construction and mechanical jobs are to be created, and once construction is complete, about 35 to 45 full-time and contracts jobs will be created, the press release noted.

Governor Perdue said in the release that she’d been working with Facebook for a year to bring the project to fruition. Earlier this year Facebook announced it would be building its first data center in Prineville, Oregon. In past years, the company has relied on rented facilities more heavily.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace has targeted Facebook already for its Oregon center. That facility is on an electrical grid that relies somewhat more heavily on coal than the national average — 58% versus 50%. The North Carolina facility, powered by Duke Energy, also appears to be beating the national average for coal consumption, at nearly 55%, although the utility has emphasized that it is working to increase the portion of renewable energy. Greenpeace has some more fuel to go after Facebook with.

But as has been with the Oregon data center power source issue, Facebook is emphasizing all of the extra things it does to save energy. From the press release:

In keeping with North Carolina’s growing reputation for environmental leadership, the building will be designed to LEED gold standards. In addition, Facebook will employ innovative cooling and power management technologies to make the facility one of the most energy efficient data centers in the United States.

Facebook is also a leading pioneer in efficient software and facility will use technologies developed by Facebook to rely on fewer than half the computing power (and related energy consumption) that a similar data center would have required only a few years ago.

For updates and information about the Rutherford Data Center, see its Facebook Page.

[Image via Rutherford Data Center Facebook Page]