Facebook building data center in Sweden using new architecture

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By Sonja Hegman Andras Comment

A rendering of Facebook’s Luleå 2 Rapid Deployment Data Center (RDDC)

If you’re near Luleå, Sweden, you could witness the first Facebook data center being built using a new kind of architecture.

Rapid deployment data center design (RDDC) is a new kind of building concept from Open Compute Project, an industry-wide coalition of technology companies that is creating cost and energy efficient designs and sharing them for free under an open source model. This new design idea that will allow Facebook to expand its capacity twice as fast. The concept was discussed during the Open Compute Summit in January. This will be the second data center building in Luleå, but the first using this new architecture.

This new approach to data center design will enable Facebook to construct and deploy new capacity twice as fast at its previous approach. It will be much more site-agnostic and reduce the amount of of materials used during construction.

The RDDC concept for Facebook began with a hack. In October 2012, Open Compute’s data center strategic engineering and development team and several construction experts came together to hack on a design for a data center that would look less like a construction project and more like a manufactured product. From this hack, a couple of core ideas for streamlining and simplifying the build process emerged.

The first idea developed during the hack was using pre-assembled steel frames. This concept is similar to that of a car on a chassis, where the frame is built and components are attached via an assembly line. In this model, cable trays, power bus ways, containment panels, and even lighting are preinstalled in a factory.

The second idea was Ikea-inspired flat-pack assemblies. Instead of creating a data center where all the weight is carried by the roof, Open Compute sought to develop a concept where the walls of a data center would be paneled to fit into standard modules that would be easily transportable to a site, much like an Ikea bookshelf fits neatly into one box.

Construction on the Luleå data center is expect to being soon using RDDC designs.

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