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Facebook Plans $1 Billion Iowa Data Center

April 23, 2013 By Leon Walker

Mark Zuckerberg FacebookFacebook is planning to build a $1 billion data center in Altoona, Iowa, that experts are predicting will be the world’s “most technologically advanced,” reports The Des Moines Register.

The 1.4 million-sq-foot facility is expected to be built in two $500 million stages. The Register says that when completely built out, the project’s final cost could by around $1.5 billion.

Associated with the project is a request by Facebook for tax credits for wind energy production in Iowa. The credits would require legislation, the Register reports. The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board and the Altoona City Council are expected to consider the credits today.

Last week, Facebook launched public dashboards that report efficiency metrics – specifically PUE and WUE – for its date centers in Prineville, Ore., and Forest City, N.C. The dashboards feature views of the past 24 hours of data and a historical view of the past year’s values. The social networking giant has plans to publish data for its forthcoming Luleå, Sweden, data center, once that facility comes online.

The company says that the push for public access to its real-time efficiency figures is motivated by a commitment to openness. In a blog post to launch the dashboards, Facebook said it is “proud” of its data center efficiency and that it is “important to demystify data centers and share more about what operations really look like.”

Facebook says it is expecting teething problems as a result of its “getting projects out the door and improving them over time” philosophy. The company has also open-sourced the front-end code for these dashboards so that any organization interested in sharing PUE, WUE, temperature, and humidity at its data center sites can use these dashboards to get started.

The Forest City location uses outside air to keep its servers cool, which allowed the center to maintain extreme efficiency during last summer when temperatures reached 102 degrees, recording a PUE of 1.07.

This design mirrors Facebook’s Prineville, Ore., data center the company opened in 2010 that uses 100 percent outside air economization coupled with a direct evaporation cooling and humidification misting system. This free cooling cuts power use and costs needed to operate the facilities.



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