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6 Amazing Facts About the Facebook Data Center

Posted by QuoteColo on May 12, 2017 - Updated on May 02, 2017

Just a little south of the Arctic Circle, sitting close to the top of the world is the city of Luleå. It features densely packed forests full of trees and picturesque rivers that move slowly under the burden of large ice masses.

In the middle of all of this beautiful wilderness is a gigantic building owned by one of the most powerful companies in the world. Here are six more amazing facts about Facebook’s massive Swedish data center.

The Staff Is Small

While this Facebook data center is absolutely gigantic, the staff required to operate it is actually quite small. Only about 150 people are on staff in total. Therefore, if you were to take a tour of this massive facility, you may be surprised to find so many of its halls completely empty. That’s because Facebook only needs one technician per 25,000 servers.

The disparity between the size of the building and the size of the staff is so great that many employees use scooters to get around.

Facebook Has Big Fans

As you’re probably well aware, there are well over a billion Facebook users all over the world. However, in this context, we’re actually talking about massive machines that the facility relies on to keep its servers at the ideal temperature. If servers are allowed to get too hot, they’ll overheat and quit working. That would be a catastrophe for the company.

To keep these hardworking servers nice and cool, Facebook uses fans to pull air in from the outside. However, in the winter, when the temperature can drop to -30 degrees, the fans actually reverse direction to keep the cold air out. The servers’ own heat is then used to keep them sufficiently warm.

The Equipment Is Minimal and Bare

For a company that pays so much attention to detail and is at the forefront of social media, it might surprise you to learn that its equipment at this data center has been reduced to its necessities and nothing more. This allows it to run cooler and, thus, more easily avoid the aforementioned threat of overheating.

Keeping the equipment simple makes it easier to access, too, which comes in handy when something needs to be repaired. In the past, the average time to repair a server was an hour; now it’s just two minutes.

Old Hard Drives Are Destroyed

Facebook takes your privacy so seriously that it doesn’t merely stop at simply wiping hard drives when they become obsolete. Instead, they are physically destroyed to the point that they are no longer even recognizable. These devices are literally shreds when the social media giant is done with them.

It Started on a Napkin

This data center was Facebook’s first outside of the United States. Although it’s a massive reality today, just a few years ago, it was nothing more than a sketch made on the back of engineer Jay Park’s napkin. Good thing he kept it.

What Park drew was his idea for a system that would transfer power the local utility grid to Facebook’s servers in a new streamlined manner. That became the basis for this unprecedented data center.

There Is Plenty of Graffiti Inside

Facebook’s offices have become well known for their graffiti and street art and this data center is no different. The interior is teeming with murals and tags of all kinds made from spray paint.

While Facebook relies on data centers all over the world, this one in Luleå has garnered a lot of attention not just for its massive size but because of the six facts we listed for you above.

Categories: Data Center

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