Facebook Reveals Its Data Center Secrets

The social networking leader shows why its new Oregon data center is said to be one of the most efficient in the world.

Facebook this month revealed some of the secrets behind its new next-generation data center, an IT facility in rural Prineville, Ore., that some experts say is one of the world's most efficient.

As part of the company's Open Compute Project, Facebook officials released specifications for the data center's custom-built rack-mounted servers, which they said weigh less and use more-efficient power systems than most others do. The company also disclosed its methods for cooling racks of servers without air conditioning.

The technical details are posted on the OpenCompute.org website hosted by Oregon State University's Open Source Lab.

The site explains the design of the server chassis and lists the specifications for the components used in the systems, including their AMD Opteron- and Intel Xeon-based motherboards and their power supplies.

Facebook and its Open Compute Project partners -- Advanced Micro Devices, Intel and Quanta -- have been tweaking and tuning the data center specifications for about a year while working with server makers like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Rackspace, Skype and Zynga to build lighter, cooler systems that are easy to repair.

"These servers are 38% more efficient than the servers we were buying previously," said Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of technical operations at Facebook. The finished product also costs some 24% less than the industry average for similar servers, he added.

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