Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Facebook to Build Its Own Data Centers

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Facebook has decided to begin building its own data centers, and may announce its first facility as soon as tomorrow. The fast-growing social network has previously leased server space from wholesale data center providers, but has grown to the point where the economics favor a shift to a custom-built infrastructure.

“Facebook is always looking at ways to scale our infrastructure and better serve our users,” said Facebook spokesperson Kathleen Loughlin said last week. “It should come as no surprise that, at some point, building a customized data center will be the most efficient and cost effective way to to do this. However, we have nothing further to announce at this time.”

That may change tomorrow at noon, when Oregon Gov. Ted Kulogonski is scheduled to unveil the identity of Company X, the mysterious tenant in a data center project in Prineville, Oregon. Construction is already underway on the 117,000 square foot data center at a site near the Prineville Airport, which is expected to employ 35 workers.

The data center is being built by Vitesse LLC on behalf of an unidentified tenant. But Vitesse has said Company X is not either Google or Yahoo. Data center industry chatter suggests the tenant is a large social networking site – which usually means Facebook.

Facebook’s move to build its own data centers was foreshadowed by its plans to implement custom servers and an innovative power path design, which will allow the company to reduce the energy loss during power distribution from the current 35 percent to about 15 percent.

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