First Facebook data center in Asia costs $1 billion, uses new cooling system

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facebook data center singapore

An artist rendering of the upcoming Facebook data center in Singapore. Source: Facebook

 

Facebook will invest $1 billion to build its first data center in Asia. Once completed, the facility will stand 11 stories high and occupy 1.8 million square foot, making it one of the largest data centers worldwide.

Facebook engineering executive Jay Parikh broke the news Thursday morning.

The expansion seeks to keep up with rapid rise in demand of artificial intelligence, video and other data technologies.

The designers will consider Singapore’s humid weather and use a new StatePoint Liquid Cooling system. SPLC uses water to cool the air and cuts water usage by up to 20 percent.

Facebook will use renewable energy to power the center and expand its solar resources in the country. The design will allow airflow and give people a peek of what’s inside.

The design is a new approach among vertical data centers. It will be the tallest facility using a true hyperscale design that captures economies of scale.

“Singapore is one of the most vibrant and modern technology hubs in Asia,” Parikh wrote. “However, it presents a new set of efficiency challenges due to its high temperatures and humidity. To address these and other unique operational requirements, including building in a dense, urban environment, we came up with a new design and way to build this facility.”

The shortage of land

Singapore is a small island nation with extremely expensive parcels of land. And Facebook often builds large campuses of multiple single-story buildings to house its facilities, with second floors dedicated to cooling systems.

The Singaporean government encourages data centers to have taller facilities to avoid overcrowding of buildings.

Other data centers in Singapore already use a multistoried design. Google owns a five-story data center in the country, and its tallest in the world. SingTel owns a seven-story data center.

The 11-story Facebook data center dwarfs the other facilities.

Building images show the cooling infrastructure on the roof, an approach supported by the SPLC system. The main building seems to be attached to a building about five stories high, enough to house backup generators.

A new cooling system

Facebook unveiled its new cooling system in June for servers and storage equipment in warmer climates.

The company partnered with Nortek to develop the StatePoint liquid cooling system. It uses evaporative cooling that is new to data centers.

Before this, Facebook has built data centers with direct cooling. This system filters outside air and circulates it through racks to cut the heat generated by servers and storage units.

SPLC uses outside air temperature to produce cool water. Facebook uses the water in a cooling coil that flows air through the racks.

“This technology minimizes water and power consumption and can maintain required temperatures without supplemental cooling,” Parikh wrote. “It can reduce the amount of water used by 20% in hot and humid climates like Singapore when compared to other indirect cooling systems. With an expected PUE of 1.19, we expect this facility to be one of the most efficient data centers in the region.”

The company chose Singapore because it has an established infrastructure, access to fiber and business-friendly policies. It will be the 15th Facebook data center worldwide and the first in Asia.

Operations will start by 2022, after installing the first servers. But Facebook said it expects to continue construction to add more capacity.


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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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