Facebook data center power demand

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Facebook has revealed that its data center in Prineville, Oregon consumes 28 megawatts of electricity -- consistent with other comparably-sized data facilities, but a significant draw on the local electric grid.  As data center operations grow, they will need reliable access to affordable electricity.

Data centers, which are centralized locations where computer servers store and process information, are in increasing demand.  From managing the smart grid through real-time data collection and processing to managing information about online contacts, data centers support many of the activities consumers take for granted every day.

Fundamentally composed of electronic data storage and processing equipment, data centers can consume significant amounts of electricity.  Managing the cost and environmental impacts of that power consumption is important to many data center operators.  Some, like Google, have chosen to source renewable power for their data centers.  Others pursue improved energy efficiency for their data centers.

In Facebook's case, the initial 300,000 square foot facility reportedly consumes up to 28 megawatts of power.  By comparison, all of the other businesses and homes in Crook County reportedly consume just 30 megawatts of power, meaning Facebook's data center could already consume about half of the electricity in the region.  Future phases might roughly triple that electricity consumption, and other businesses and governmental entities are considering siting data centers near Prineville's location in central Oregon.

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