Cold Storage: Facebook Adds Data Center In Sweden

By David Cohen Comment

The weather in Luleå, Sweden, is lovely this time of year, and has been lovely since 1961, for a server farm, that is. Human beings might not agree.

The Telegraph reported that Facebook’s first server farm to be located outside of the United States will be constructed in Luleå, where the social network will build three server halls, occupying an area the size of 11 football fields.

Aurorum Science Park Chief Executive Officer Mats Engman told The Telegraph:

The climate will allow them to just use only air for cooling the servers. If you take the statistics, the temperature has not been above 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit] for more than 24 hours since 1961. If you take the average temperature, it’s around 2C [35.6F].

The servers will be powered by renewable electricity generated by dams on the Luleå River, according to The Telegraph, which added that the operation will require enough power to feed 16,000 detached homes, at a cost of roughly $72.3 million per year.

Facebook Director of Site Operations Tom Furlong told Associated Press the facility is slated for completion by 2004. European users of the social network will see better performance due to a data-traffic node located closer to them.”Facebook has more users outside of the United States than inside. It was time for us to expand in Europe,” He said.

Facebook already has server farms in Silicon Valley; Ashburn, Virginia; and Prineville, Oregon, as well as another one under construction in Forest City, North Carolina.

Sweden’s colder climate might make for a cheaper data center operation than any of the ones in the U.S., where warmer temperatures call for investments in cooling infrastructure and maintenance related to servers overheating.