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Facebook Opens Its Largest Data Storage Centre

Facebook is one of the largest websites in the world. They have nearly 2 billion users and that number is growing by the day. Unlike other social media websites that have been thrown by the wayside after a couple of years, Facebook shows no signs of slowing down. It’s adapting to the different ways that people use social media. To name one thing, the rise of live video.

To host all that information requires a strong data solution and Facebook is investing in some major data centre construction. As such, they have opened the first of three buildings in a new data centre, the largest of theirs to date.

“To some extent this data centre is a size and scale that works for us; it is physically one of the largest we’ve built,” said Tom Furlong, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook. “We’ve just evolved over time to try to figure out what is going to scale best long term.”

He was speaking at the facility’s opening on the 4th May, which first started construction in 2015.

Over the years, it will continue to grow. Currently it covers 440000 square feet, with three more buildings of similar size on the way. The second building is due to be complete by the end of the year. 750 construction workers are currently building the third. By the time it’s all complete, in about five years from time of writing, there will be more than 2 million square feet of space for their servers.

The site manager for the Fort Worth Data Center, KC Timmons, said that they have one of the most energy efficient data centres in the world. It uses an evaporative cooling system that means that refrigerants aren’t needed. They can use the windy local weather to cool down the servers – and those servers are going to demand a lot of power, so there’ll be 200 megawatts of wind power going through the grid to keep it going.

The hardware was built using Facebook’s Open Compute Project platform, with the aim to reduce the time it takes to repair servers. “The hardware is designed for our specifications for our family of applications. You limit the power usage, you limit compute power, you use limited storage, you’re not wasting any resources,” said Timmons.

Of course, this facility hasn’t been built to keep up with the current data demands. That’s growing so quickly that it would be physically impossible to build data centres fast enough to keep up with it. Instead, this facility allows Facebook to keep up with the live and virtual reality trends that are growing. They need these data centres to be useful from an infrastructure perspective for 20 to 30 years. They need the flexibility to grow the data centre as the server technology changes.

With such keen investments, it’s clear that Facebook has no plans of going anywhere. They are far more than a social network now, expanding into other businesses and industries with no sign of stopping. They’ll need these data centres.


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