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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  • Data analysis can influence design

    This is the cold storage facility officials said is the redundant of the redundant. By unlocking user data, Facebook realized that 82 percent of traffic is on 8 percent of its photo base — so older photos that aren't in heavy rotation go here, where the servers are not as active or drawing on as much power. This makes server usage three times more efficient and the building five times more energy efficient, officials said.

  • Always plan for growth (especially when you're Facebook)

    Facebook anticipates a growing need for cold storage, and it's got space planned and ready for commission. The cold storage facility in Forest City is shaped like an E, and so far only one leg of the letter is being used, and not even at full capacity. But with 400 billion photos on the social media site, and 350 million more coming in each day, there'll be no shortage of demand for the digital attic space.

  • Keep employees playing hard

    This one's the no-brainer. Like many of the Silicon Valley companies, Facebook is known for its office perks. But with only an average of 80 employees at the rural Forest City center, the staff optimized their surroundings to make room for fun — by the way of frisbee golf. Good thing they have branded electric carts to make their way to each post across the 160-acre campus overlooking the South Mountains.

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

Topics: Data Centers, Data Management, Social Enterprise

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  • The sport isn't called "frisbee golf"

    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