Facebook Friends Fort Worth With Data Center Plans

The Texas metropolis has a new friend in Facebook, which plans to build a data center powered by renewable energy.
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Social networking giant Facebook announced plans to build a new data center in Fort Worth, Texas, bringing its current total up to five separate facilities.

The company noted the Fort Worth data center would be powered 100% by renewable energy, thanks to the 200 MW of new wind energy Facebook helped bring to the Texas grid as part of the deal.

"Like its predecessors, we expect Fort Worth to be one of the most advanced, efficient, and sustainable data centers in the world," Tom Furlong, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure, wrote in a blog post. "Our continuing work on data center design is an important part of our overall infrastructure efficiency efforts, which have helped us save more than $2 billion in infrastructure costs over the last three years."

The Texas-based data center is the company's fifth, joining locations with existing centers in Oregon, Iowa (also powered by renewable energy), North Carolina, and Sweden.

"We also recognize that we all need to work together to ensure that our industry is more efficient and more sustainable over time," Furlong continued. "That's why we openly share our designs for our data centers through the Open Compute Project, which now has more than 200 members and thousands of participants, all collaborating on the development of efficient and sustainable data center technologies."

The Open Compute Project is an organization that shares designs of data center products among companies, including the social networking giant; major technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, Rackspace, Cisco, and Juniper Networks; and financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, and Bank of America.

Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group were partners in the effort to bring renewable energy to the Texas grid.

[ Avoid common errors. Read about 7 Ways to Kill Data Center Efficiency. ]

Construction on the project is already under way on a 17,000-acre site in Clay County, just 90 miles from the data center, and the company expects it to begin delivering clean energy to the grid by 2016.

"The other thing we are proud to be able to bring to Texas are new jobs and investment. You can read more about the impact our data center investments have had so far in Oregon, North Carolina, and Sweden, but for us it goes beyond just economic impact, Ken Patchett, director of data center operations, west region, wrote on Facebook. "We are making our home here in Fort Worth, and we want to do what we can to help the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and the state of Texas continue to thrive."

Facebook is part of a group of data-centric businesses making large investments in data centers. In June, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the massive cloud computing service subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon, announced plans to open a massive data center in India by 2016 to meet customer demand and expand its market lead.

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