Facebook’s first data centre

The problem with hosting within the San Francisco Bay Area is the extremely high cost of commercial land with around $80-150 per square foot.

Facebook has rolled out its first data center today, showing its commitment to investing in new infrastructure to support its rapid growth with a $180-215 million dollar building project.

The problem with hosting within the San Francisco Bay Area is the extremely high cost of commercial land with around $80-150 per square foot and low availability of land, even around Palo Alto there is scarcity of land and zoning issues.   Facebook has followed the model of sharing, leasing and now owning their own data centers.  They can also avoid the bigger issue of earthquakes as their office’s close location to the San Andreas fault line as shown in the right-side image.

The entity which controlled the purchase & planning to keep Facebook private was Vitesse LLC.  The company Vitesse maybe related to their possible network supplier or maybe just a football association.

What is interesting is that the remote locations that was chosen Prineville, Oregon which is a long way from its San Francisco offices but from a data protection and security perspective it makes sense. The Prineville location was selected because of the lower power prices, enterprise zoning and size of the land.  The other benefit is that because of the dry climate Facebook is able to use evaporative cooling systems to further reduce power consumption.

Google operates a large data center in The Dalles, Oregon just near the Columbia River which powers a large hydroelectic dam. Amazon runs its datacenter operations out of Boardman, Ohio.

The move into rural america is a massive support for regional locations, and it is likely other companies will follow Facebook’s lead in selecting Prineville, Oregon for their data center locations. The central data location will also likely reduce the costs associated with running multiple locations and having to deal with Facebook user data de-duplication as previously it has had 4 data centers in San Francisco, Santa Clara, New York & London, UK.

Crook County had a 17.4% unemployment rate as of November 2009 so the construction should assist the local community.  The hiring of the 35 employees located on site will begin in September 2010, and hiring should be complete by December 2013.  Facebook has applied for a 10-year waiver of all income and excise taxes under the Oregon Investment Advantage program.

The city of Prineville will recieve a franchise fee from Pacific Power for any power the datacenter uses. The company will pay an annual $110,000 community fee and $27,000 in porperty tax. The actual site only has plans for 35 staff initially but this maybe expanded as there is plans for 49 parking spaces. The construction process has already begun and heavy machinery can be seen on site drilling holes as part of the preparation for the building.

To put the new Facebook data center’s location into perspective we have included a map
3,965 Km west from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
901km north from Facebook Offices, Palo Alto, CA
506km south from Microsoft, Seattle, WA
The facebook datacenter is to be located at the newly built 735 S.W. Vitesse Avenue. The 124 acres block of land the data center sits on was purchased for $3.2 million earlier last year. It is located just west of the town center, just east the local airfield which should make it possible to fly engineers and staff into the area quickly if required. The approximate location is just slightly north of the red marker on the map below.
The 10,892 square meter builing will stand 45 feet tall. The building will have two loading areas located on the north side of the building for trucks. You can also see the 14-foot wide driveways for truck access but 5-foot bike lanes will be added on either side for staff access.
The birds-eye view of the new Facebook data center complex is shown above, with a side impression shown below. The artist renderings have been generated by Chicago based Architectural firm Sheehan Partners.
So congratulations to the technical team for thinking big and picking a long-term solution for the #2 website in the world and for their impressive artist illustration of the new data complex, do you think they are going to paint the outside walls Facebook blue or sell advertising banners?