Facebook sheds details about new datacenter in Iowa

Summary:The world's largest social network has more room to grow with the opening of a new datacenter in the Midwest.


Facebook is quickly expanding its datacenter footprint with a new addition planned for the Midwestern United States.

The lucky host town is Altoona, Iowa, which will be the social network's fourth owned and operated data center worldwide and its third in the United States.

The remaining trio are in Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden.

See also: Google outlines renewable energy plans for N.C. datacenter | Facebook debuts public dashboards about power, water usage at datacenters

The extra space and resources are clearly necessary when you take into account that Facebook -- the world's largest social network -- has a user base of more than one billion worldwide and growing with billions of pieces of digital content shared each day.

Continuing to push a more environmentally-friendly image for powering these resource-demanding facilities, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company reiterated that the facility will feature the same Open Compute Project server designs and innovative outdoor-air cooling system as its other datacenters.

But Facebook reps asserted that this location will be taking things a step further by incorporating "evolutionary improvements to the building design, networking architecture, and more."

Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering at Facebook, explained further in a blog post on Tuesday, positing that the Altoona establishment will be "among the most advanced and energy efficient facilities of its kind."

Parikh also highlighted that the Iowa facility is centered in an area with an "abundance of wind-generated power," which should also help that greener strategy.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad also commented about the launch, remarking in a statement that the location choice "further solidifies Iowa’s position as a destination for tech companies – from major data center operations like Facebook’s to the innovative start-ups we continue to see popping up around our state."

Greenpeace even chimed in with praise for Facebook's geographical decision.

Gary Cook, the international senior IT analyst for global environmental organization, said in prepared remarks that with Iowa, "Facebook has chosen a location where it has great potential to power its newest data center with the wind energy that is booming there."

But Cook added the caveat that Facebook should "show a willingness to work with Iowa’s major utility, MidAmerican Energy, to provide more clean energy to the grid."

Facebook plans to break ground on the project this summer with plans to start addressing and serving user traffic by next year.

Image via Facebook Newsroom

Topics: Data Centers, Big Data, Data Management, Social Enterprise, Developer


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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