updated 02:50 pm EDT, Fri April 20, 2012
New datacenter tests Open Compute web servers
Facebook has completed construction of its new datacenter in Forest City, North Carolina, and half of the new facility is now online and serving user traffic. The massive datacenter broke ground in November 2010, and is expected to be fully operational some time later in the year.
The new center consists of two buildings, of which one is fully operational currently. The datacenter represents the first major deployment of the v2 Open Compute Project web servers, which rely on Intel's less power-intensive Sandy Bridge processor. The facility was constructed with a focus on energy efficiency, and represents a unique test for the Open Compute Project's outdoor-air cooling, as the North Carolina locale features temperature and humidity conditions outside the usual range for datacenter operations.
The new facility is a testament to the ongoing success of the social networking giant, as its server array will be necessary to handle the traffic generated by Facebook's more than 845 million users worldwide. The opening of the facility comes as the company is believed to be edging closer to an initial public offering, where it is expected to fetch a valuation of around $100 billion.