10 things to learn from Facebook's approach to data centers

10 things to learn from Facebook's approach to data centers

Summary: Facebook's sprawling Forest City, North Carolina data center is designed to be a beacon of energy friendliness in the watt-sucking world of server farms. On a recent media tour of the facility, officials showed off green-computing practices that they say have saved the company more than $1 billion.


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  • Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy

    Facebook likes to think it broke the theory of typical data center design with its high levels of redundancy. Much like with the cooling fans, where one clicks on if another fails, the same goes with the power. The facility has a reserve bus in the power system that allows them to switch between primary and reserve power. In previous data centers that had to be done by switching to generators.

  • Community can accelerate the pace of innovation

    This is the Open Compute database server, one of the latest Open Compute projects. The new design uses flash for storage and is a 40-percent efficiency win compared to previous database devices. It's all solid state with no moving parts, giving it faster response and easier storability. Facebook officials said that open sourcing the things the company's built interally — and then building a community around those designs — has made them better, faster. 

  • Efficient technology is vanity free

    Those pizza box-looking cardboard slabs stuffed between the server trays are not there to warm lunch — they're there to force air down to the servers to cool them off. Traditional server towers also typically come with a plastic bezel on the front, but the team found out that by not putting them on there's no longer a need to commission the plastic or deploy it, and as a bonus the fans in the back don't have to work as hard (which obviously saves more engery). Facebook's message here: Looks are secondary to utility and efficiency.

Topics: Data Centers, Data Management, Social Enterprise

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    FYI - "Frisbee" is a trademark of Wham-o. The "disc catcher" depicted in the final photo is for *disc golf*. Frisbees are much different and are inferior to "regulation" disc golf discs. Laypersons are "allowed" to call the sport by the wrong name, but members of the Professional Disc Golf Association almost always offense.
    • fun-facts

      1. very few people care about the opinions of PDGA members much less whether or not they are offended by terminology.

      2. you'll actually find that most of them don't really care what you call it 90% of the time anyway. as a disc golfer myself, I've heard many of them even refer to it as frolfing as well as many other names that elude me at the moment.

      and finally:

      3. Wham-o also manufactures disc golf discs. they only come in one grade of plastic though, they do hold up nicely for the most part. the local course is heavily wooded with semi-narrow paths in places.
  • Here's what I learned about Joke Book

    Their Android and iPhone Apps stink so bad
    I've deleted them.

    I'm thinking of ditching FB altogether. It's just a stupid website for posting things no one cares about or reads anyway.
    • Luke-IT

      Maybe you're just not interesting or have nothing interesting to say :(
      I communicate with people around the world... of course there are those who just go there to play game which I find a waste of my time. I have found friends I had lost contact with going back over 40 years.

      Go ahead and ditch FB; you probably won't be missed.
    • What's new?

      FB users come and go, just like people do in any social community, so what's new?
    • When leaving a site ...

      don't announce your departure, just leave. Announcing departure is pathetic.

      I'm not a FaceBook fan, I go to the site less than rarely and feel that it's on toxic land quite appropriate.

      OTOH my wife's family moved to the U.S. from Italy in '72 and Wife has reconnected with her large family back in the homeland via FaceBook. Wife derives happiness from FaceBook.

      So there you go, everyones mileage varies.

      Rob Berman
  • Image 3 - nice bracing!

    Couldn't block that walkway better if you tried - oh wait let's put something to trip over and stop anyone wheeling anything along there.
  • Facebook Data Center

    "Fun fact: The data center site was formerly home to a toxic textile plant and later a boat manufacturer."

    Killer cotton?
  • A lot...

    A lot of tech to store a lot of tat...
    dumb blonde