Inside Facebook's data center
Facebook claims its new data center in Prineville, Oregon, has a 1.07 power usage effectiveness rating, significantly better than the industry average of 1.4 to 1.6 PUE.
It gained an edge from several factors including eliminating three steps of power conversion. In addition, the company claims it created AMD and Intel motherboard designs with 22 percent fewer components, eliminating as much as six pounds from traditional designs.
The data center uses no air conditioning. Instead it has a novel method of cycling ambient cool air through the data center, using the air heated by computers to heat its offices or to exhaust outside.
At least two second tier data center operators joined the Facebook Open Compute Project—game developer Zynga and Rackspace which has developed open source software for cloud computing called OpenStack.
Lanham Napier--CEO of Rackspace Hosting, the services part of Rackspace--estimated the Facebook designs could shave $4 million off a $10 million annual power budget for some data centers. "The Rackspace team has visited and studied Facebook's next-generation data center, our engineers continue to collaborate, and we look forward to optimizing OpenStack for Open Compute," he said.
"The biggest impact of the Open Compute Project will be in emerging markets that are just starting to think about how to build their data centers," said Jason Waxman, a general manager in Intel's data center group.
A representative of the U.S. Department of Energy was also on hand at the Facebook event. He praised the effort and said the government hopes to use the specs in future procurements, but will have to rationalize the specs with own requirements, especially in areas such as security.
Facebook has reviewed the specs with the vendors it collaborated with to make sure the designs are free of any intellectual property rights. "Anyone can use this technology with no licensing fees," said a Facebook spokesman.
Facebook's server uses 22 percent fewer components than traditional designs.