Today, Facebook announced that it will construct it’s first ever data center outside of the US in Sweden, just 60 miles outside of the arctic circle. This will mark the first time that the social media behemoth ventures outside the US as it starts to tailor to its ever growing presence around the globe; last count hovering somewhere around 800 million users. The center will derive all the power it needs, a total of 120 MW of energy, from hydro-power, making it a completely “green” complex.
After reviewing prospective locations across Europe, Facebook stated that its decision to choose Lulea was based on practical grounds. Not only does the cold climate, which rarely goes above 80 degrees F in the summer and stays well below freezing in the winter, provide an ideal environment to keep servers cool, but access to the renewable energy from the nearby hydro-power stations make the northern Swedish town a perfect location. But just in case of a blackout, Facebook is installing 12 diesel generators, that will be able to provide 40 MW of energy, to each building.
European users are expected to see better performance from the site as their points of information are stored closer to them. Currently, Facebook’s houses all data relating to status updates, links, photos, apps, etc. in facilities located in either California, Virginia or Oregon, with another one in North Carolina soon to be built.
The Lulea facility is expected to be completed by 2014. The project, while it does mark a first for Facebook, comes as no surprise. To quote Facebook’s director of operations, Tom Furlong, “Facebook has more users outside the U.S. than inside. It was time for [Facebook] to expand in Europe.”