Facebook to build massive server farm near Arctic Circle

By on October 27, 2011, 1:00 PM

Facebook will be building a massive server farm just 62 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Luleå, northern Sweden. The facility will include three 300,000 square feet server halls, according to the Washington Post.

This will be the first time that Facebook has built a data center outside of the US, which has become a trend for large American companies as of late. In 2007, Microsoft looked to build a server farm in Siberia but the deal was never finalized. Google is currently building a similar data center in Hamima in southern Finland.

Key to Facebook choosing Luleå is the cold climate. A large server farm requires massive amounts of cold air to keep operating temperatures down. The average temperature in the area is around 2C (35.6F) and the temperature has not been above 30C (86F) for more than 24 hours since 1961. The plan is to pump in cool air from outside to aid in temperature management.

Despite the ability to use natural cool air, the server farm will still require a lot of power; 120 MW to be exact. This will primarily be supplied by the Lule River which produces twice as much hydroelectric power as the Hoover Dam. The reliability of the local power grid didn’t hurt matters, either.

Facebook Director of Site Operations Tom Furlong is overseeing the project and was responsible for selecting the site among more than 40 other locations. Facebook users in Europe and surrounding areas should expect a performance boost once the new data center goes online in 2014.


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