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Thursday
Oct272011

Facebook Plans Server Farm in Sweden

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- If you were Facebook, one of the most successful startups in sunny Silicon Valley, why would you expand to Lulea, Sweden? The company announced Thursday it is building its first European server farm there.

Lulea, 600 miles north of Stockholm and just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, is literally the land of the midnight sun -- but Facebook did not pick it for the sunshine. Instead, said the company, much of the appeal is the cold.

Servers -- the big computer banks that keep websites running -- have a bad habit of getting very hot and using a lot of electricity. Facebook said northern Sweden solves the problem -- cooling the machines with Arctic air. They'll do a high-tech version of opening the windows.

"Lulea offered a number of advantages," said a company spokesperson, including "a climate that offers the ability to reduce energy consumption through use of outside air for cooling."

There also happens to be a large, fast-flowing river nearby, complete with a large hydroelectric dam that local officials say generates twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam.

"The Lulea data center will draw its power almost exclusively from hydroelectric sources," Facebook said. "The result is a data center that is significantly more efficient than the industry standard, saving energy and reducing its environmental footprint."

The Lulea facility will be giant -- 900,000 square feet -- and even with the natural air conditioning, it will need 120 megawatts of electricity, enough to power something like 16,000 average homes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio