Facebook's open source data center

Two open data centers at Facebook

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Today, the many in the world focus on making things as environmentally-friendly as possible to reduce the negative impact daily life has on the environment to protect it for future generations. This includes major corporations, such as Facebook.

Facebook is at the forefront of creating greener ways to operate their servers that contain everything that makes the website run for its millions of users. With their state-of-the-art open source data centers, they are helping companies around the world match their stride.

The data center initiative

Facebook currently operates two data centers, one in Prineville, Oregon, and one in Forest City, North Carolina. Each of these facilities has been designed to operate as efficiently as possible through a partnership with Open Compute. This keeps the cost of running the facility down, as well as reduces the negative impact on the environment itself. Their goal was to lower the power usage effectiveness, or PUE, as close to the ideal 1-to-1 ratio as possible so they can be greener with each click their users make.

With this innovative new open source coding, Facebook offers public access to the same information their engineers use daily to monitor the efficiency of the facilities.

The dashboards

Each data center Facebook operates offers access to their dashboards online so anyone can track the effectiveness of each facility. Included on these dashboards is real-time information, including the current PUE, and water usage effectiveness, or WUE, outdoor humidity and outdoor temperature. You can also access the same information over the last 24 hours, days, weeks or even the full year.

The goal of the partnership between Facebook and Open Compute is to show other companies that require the operation of server facilities how to make their operations more efficient as well, in addition to providing them with the open source code they need to replicate the efforts.

A new green facility

With the success of their two current data centers, Facebook is pleased to announce they are opening a new data center in Altoona, Iowa, in the near future. This state-of-the-art facility will offer the same public monitoring through the open source software developed by Open Compute in a new, more efficient facility. The evolutionary design of the building and the unique cooling system that uses air from outside the facility to cool the servers makes this data center greener than any other similar facility, including the original two centers Facebook currently operates.

Because this technology and software is available via open source code, other data centers can use it and make improvements, helping every business run more efficiently to save money and the environment.

About the author

Joshua John - Joshua is the digital strategist for MBA@UNC and MPA@UNC, the University of North Carolina's online MBA and MPA degrees. Joshua is also a data nerd who loves gadgets, movies, and all things links. You can find him on Twitter @joshuavjohn.