Facebook chooses new location for new data center

Following in the footsteps of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, which are building ever-growing networks of data centers, Facebook said Thursday that it will build a new data center in Forest City, N.C. This will be the second data center that Facebook is building from the ground up.

11/12/2010


Following in the footsteps of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, which are building ever-growing networks of data centers, Facebook said Thursday that it will build a new data center in Forest City, N.C. This will be the second data center that Facebook is building from the ground up. Its first facility in Prineville, Ore., is currently under construction and is expected to open next year. Facebook also leases data center space — and in some cases entire data centers — in several other locations, including Santa Clara, Calif.Data Centers in Use

In an accompanying press release, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue said that facility is expected to create more than 250 construction during the 18-month building phase and will employ between 35 and 45 full time and contract workers once it is finished. Gov. Perdue said that Facebook would invest about $450 million in the new facility, which it may expand in the future depending on business needs.

Facebook came under sharp criticism for its choice of Prineville for its first standalone data center, because the facility will get its electricity from PacificCorp., a utility that power is largely generated from coal. Facebook has defended its choice, saying the design of the Prineville facility is highly efficient, leading to energy savings that would offset its use of coal.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about half of the electricity in Forest City, North Carolina, is coal-generated, in line with the national average. Another 39%, or roughly double the national average, comes from nuclear power. Five percent is from natural gas, which makes up nearly 19% of the national average.

Several other Web companies, including Google and Apple, have chosen locations in North Carolina with a similar power mix for some of their data centers.

Facebook will receive approximately $17 million in local subsidies and tax breaks over 10 years, according to Tom Johnson, director of economic development for Rutherford County. Facebook will also be exempt from paying state taxes on all equipment, electricity and construction materials for the data centers.

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