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Facebook builds massive data centre

Facebook builds massive data centre

Facebook's planned data centre has just doubled in size to over 300,000 square feet.

It looks like Apple and Twitter aren't the only companies looking to fly solo with their very own giant data centres, with Facebook announcing that it is to almost double the size of its planned self-hosting facility in Oregon.

The surprise announcement - which ARN claims is a sign of the social networking company's runaway growth - is claimed by the company's Tom Furlong to be part of "the second phase of the [data centre] project, which was an option we put in place when we broke ground earlier this year," and comes before phase one - the building of a data centre - is even close to being finished.

Originally designed to be a 147,000 square foot site in Oregon, the new Facebook data centre design adds a further 160,000 square feet to the plan - making the centre an impressive 307,000 square feet in total.

While not coming close to rivaling Apple's up-coming 500,000 square foot behemoth, the size of the site is likely to give Facebook's competitors in the social networking marketplace pause for thought - and is a useful visual representation of the growth of the site, which now boasts more than 500 million users across the world.

In order to keep costs down, Facebook will be using evaporative cooling - aided by Oregon's dry climate - which the company claims will make it one of the most energy-efficient, and therefore cheapest to run, data centres around.

Any Facebook fans pleased to see that improved capacity is coming your way, or are you just surprised at the number of companies choosing the large-scale self-hosting route these days? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

14 Comments

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Fused 4th August 2010, 10:55 Quote
My only real thoughts are about how long facebook will last? Most things seem to come and go ever more quickly these days, will it last long enough to make good on the investment in this data centre?

As an end user I doubt I will see much difference. Be nicer if they fixed the bugs in the FB code and develop a better iphone app.
Gareth Halfacree 4th August 2010, 11:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fused
My only real thoughts are about how long facebook will last? Most things seem to come and go ever more quickly these days, will it last long enough to make good on the investment in this data centre?
In theory - it's always in theory - it gives Facebook an actual, physical asset to flog off should all its users leave them for the Web 3.0 Site Du Jour.

An investment in something like this when times are good could really save the company when times are bad - although would put them in the unenviable position of possibly supplying a data centre to the site that beat them in the race for hearts and minds.
Phil Rhodes 4th August 2010, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
147,000 square foot site

My God, that's a lot of space to fill with trivia about morons.
Jipa 4th August 2010, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
My God, that's a lot of space to fill with trivia about morons.

Woulda been +rep-worthy if you got the number right and were talking about Twitter :p

Makes you wonder just how many petabytes 307000 square feet is.
flipdart 4th August 2010, 11:55 Quote
i wonder how much juice that place soaks up?
Plugs 4th August 2010, 12:29 Quote
Not surprising that successful companies will do this.

Self-hosting means the only expenditure is running costs (rather than running costs + profit for the hosting company)
The only real problem is the huge expenditure in creating them.

So as long as they can live long enough so that the expenditure outweighs the profit that would have gone to the hosting company, they'll be fine.
Even if they do go before then, they have a huge data centre they can sell.
NiHiLiST 4th August 2010, 12:38 Quote
Using evaporative cooling as an energy-efficiency selling point is interesting. I wonder whether it's intended (PR-wise) to be considered "green" or just "cheap". Isn't water vapour terrible for the whole "climate change" malarky?
Lord-Vale3 4th August 2010, 13:35 Quote
They probably do it just to lower costs, and the ability to PR it as 'green' will get them more well liked by all the environmentalists.
sear 4th August 2010, 13:53 Quote
I'll bet they could reduce the size by a good 100,000 square feet if they got Zynga to host their own stuff.
dire_wolf 4th August 2010, 20:01 Quote
Reckon they'll be offering hosting or is this strictly for FB use only?
themcman1 4th August 2010, 20:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sear
I'll bet they could reduce the size by a good 100,000 square feet if they got Zynga to host their own stuff.

They do, it runs on EC2. Facebook simply provide a frame around the application and the means to integrate Facebook features.

I remmber reading a presentation on how they scale, I'll try and dig out the link later.
Nexxo 4th August 2010, 20:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
My God, that's a lot of space to fill with trivia about morons.

Trivia that is consumer research gold. The trivial personal information that morons people morons casually leave on their Facebook walls and profiles allows marketing experts to build quite a detailed picture and do targeted advertising, viral marketing...

It is also great for identity thieves and credit card fraudsters. Someone happen to mention your age and birthday? Together with your name and area of residence it makes the picture complete. They even know what you look like, what you do for a living (possibly where), what you drive, who you know.

Facebook: your life as public property.
Chimel 5th August 2010, 02:18 Quote
That extra storage does not come a bit too early: At the slow rate they were moving, I was getting worried I'd never be able to publish my medical record, bank statements and personal passwords on Facebook because of space limitations.

Now if the article could mention something useful such as how many exabytes in that datacenter instead of stupid building dimensions...
Lazarus Dark 8th August 2010, 04:55 Quote
While Facebook is a definate step up from myspace and far more mature and useful, does anyone really believe it will last more than a few more years at its current popularity? something else will come along, just like facebook has nearly killed myspace. I'm betting given time Google is going to come up with something. Having an android phone, gmail account and recently starting to use Chrome browser, Google honestly provides 90% of my internet services now. I would love to trash facebook if I could get people to move to Buzz or whatever Google is working on next.
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