Facebook to Build Second Data Center in NC

Facebook has begun construction on a second huge data center in Forest City, North Carolina, even as it prepares to bring its first facility online.

Rich Miller

October 4, 2011

2 Min Read
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An aerial view of the huge new Facebook data center under construction in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Click to see a larger version. (Credit: Facebook).

Facebook has begun construction on a second huge data center in Forest City, North Carolina, even as it prepares to bring its first facility online. Facebook Data Center Manager George Henry said Monday that the second building will mirror Building 1, a 300,000 square foot structure, which is now physically complete and being populated with its first batch of servers.

When Facebook first announced its Rutherford County facility last November it had 500 million users. Today, just 11 months later, Facebook has more than 800 million users. The company has also begun work on a second facility at its data center campus in Prineville, Oregon.

Room for More Servers
Facebook purchased 150 acres of land from Rutherford County for the $450 million project. The company built its first data center on vacant land, but also demolished a former Mako Marine factory located on the site to clear a second site.

The expansion will mean additional work for Facebook's construction team of DPR Construction and Fortis Construction Inc.  Approximately 500 people per day have worked at the Facebook site thus far. The announcement of the second phase ensures the same type of activity for at least another full year.

"We believe the expanding operations and continued construction activities will have a positive impact on Rutherford County’s economy,” Henry told county commissioners Monday.

Facebook has hired about 30 full-time employees at the data center, and expects a small increase of approximately 10 jobs at the Rutherford campus as a result of this expansion.

Facebook says the North Carolina facility with be an energy-efficient data center, and employ many of the techniques used to conserve power at its Prineville site. The Oregon facility uses evaporative cooling instead of a chiller system, continuing a trend towards chiller-less data centers and water conservation. The North Carolina site is in a warmer climate, which will reduce the scope of free cooling. But the facility will likely mirror Prineville’s practice of re-using excess heat expelled by servers to heat office space in the building.

Inside the building, Facebook is expected to implement the server and data center designs outlined in the Open Compute Project, which the company launched in February to release its custom designs for servers, power supplies and UPS units.

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