Social media titan Facebook will soon have a touch of green to go with its trademark blue. The company announced over the weekend that it will open a new European data center in the Irish town of Clonee, not quite 10 miles west of Dublin, Ireland's capital.
The new facility will mark the sixth data center that Facebook operates globally. Construction is slated to start soon, with completion estimated in about two years.
The new, 227-acre venue will be powered entirely by renewable energy, thanks to infrastructure, including hardware and software, designed and built as part of the Open Compute Program. The program is an industry-wide coalition of firms dedicated to creating energy- and cost-efficient infrastructure solutions and sharing them as open source.
"This will help us reach our goal of powering 50 percent of our infrastructure with clean and renewable energy by the end of 2018," said Facebook vice president of Infrastructure Tom Furlong in a blog post yesterday.
Also in Sweden
Rumors had circulated that Facebook’s next data center might be somewhere in Asia, specifically Taiwan. But Facebook chose to go with Ireland, the site of its European headquarters, which is located in Dublin.
The Clonee facility (pictured above) will contain Yosemite servers, which are now part of the Open Compute Project, along with 100 GB Ethernet connections. Racks and other necessary components in the new location are also the result of the collective work of the Open Compute Project.
Facebook opened its first European data center in Lulea, Sweden in 2013. That data center was also fitted with renewable energy systems, even using the cold Nordic air in its cooling system. Because of the high levels of salt in the Irish air, the Clonee data center will use advanced air filters in its HVAC system.
Many of Facebook’s stateside data centers also include green technology. The Altoona, Iowa data center works entirely with wind-generated electricity. Last summer, Facebook said it would build a data center in Fort Worth, Texas. Other Facebook data center sites besides Altoona and Lulea include Forest City, N.C. and the company’s first facility, in Prineville, Ore.
The news of the data center in Ireland comes months after the invalidation of a U.S.-EU Safe Harbor data transfer deal that had ensured that more than 4,000 European and American tech and non-tech businesses would treat data moving between countries with the same privacy protections as inside the region. But the data transfer deal came under fire when former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden released stories of that agency's mass surveillance of millions of Americans.
Part of the incentive for building in Ireland is its business-friendly taxation system. Ireland is the location of data centers owned by Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Apple has a development center in the province of Cork in Southern Ireland. About a year ago, Apple also announced that it planned to open two data centers in Europe, one of them in Athenry, County Galway, Ireland. Both data centers will start operating next year.
Image Credit: Facebook.
Posted: 2016-01-27 @ 1:56pm PT
@Sean D: Thanks for your note, we've made that correction.
Posted: 2016-01-27 @ 11:23am PT
Ireland is not in the UK as you stated in your second paragraph, this is a sensitive issue to many in Ireland. "The new facility will mark the sixth data center that Facebook operates globally and the second one in the United Kingdom. "