Facebook shares rare photos of Arctic data center

When your business involves connecting millions of people around the world, not to mentions their photos and cat videos, you're going to need small amount of server for processing, which generates no small amount of heat, which requires no small amount of cooling. Keeping servers from overheating is one of the biggest recurring costs of data centers and companies like Facebook. In order to be smart about that cooling system and also reduce its carbon footprint, Facebook has instead put to use Mother Nature's biggest air conditioning unit: the Arctic Circle.

No, Facebook hasn't taken over the North Pole, but it nearly did. Instead, it established its data center fortress in the Swedish town of LuleƄ, just 70 miles south of the Arctic. It held the distinction of Facebook's first data center outside the US. Apparently, it's also the most ingenious in terms of cooling systems.

The center's thousands of servers is warmed not by A/C units but by huge fans that pull in outside air, air that happens to be below 50 degrees on average. But LuleƄ isn't only green in its cooling. It is also powered by a dozen hydro-electric plants which are, in turn, powered by nearby rivers.

Zuckerberg, who shared the info and the photos, boasted that the data center is 10% more efficient and uses 40% less power than traditional data centers. It's not yet the completely green operation that Apple usually boasts about, but it's admittedly an ingenious strategy to save on electricity, not to mention bills, by building a data center in a naturally cold location.

Zuckerberg has also shared other photos and tidbits of the data center in what he advertises as a rare insider look at Facebook's facilities. The main building is large enough to fit six football fields and the halls are so spacious that engineers need scooters to move around the place.

SOURCE: Mark Zuckerberg