Facebook And Apple: Model Neighbors
August 18, 2012

Facebook And Apple Building Facilities In Oregon

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

Facebook is changing the way they approach their emergency backup procedures, and it all takes place in a building they´re calling “Sub-Zero.”

Of course, they´re not going to publicly refer to this building as Sub-Zero, as there´s already a company who is entitled to that name.

The social networking giant is building their new backup data center next door to their 330,000 square foot data center in Prineville, Oregon, where they will be neighbors with another tech giant from Cupertino.

According to Wired.com, Facebook has asked their engineers to design a brand new, low-power, deep-storage device over the next 6 to 9 months. These storage drives are meant to automatically power off whenever they´re not in use, according to Tom Furlong, Facebook´s vice president of site operations. Speaking to Wired, Furlong described their plans this way: “It´s going to sit in a dedicated building that is optimized to support this device that we don´t need to access very often.”

In the end, Facebook will be the proud owners of a large, quiet and mostly boring building full of machines turning on and off in solitude.

According to planning permits, this new cold storage building will take up a 62,000 square foot footprint, right next to the larger, 330,000 square foot building they´re currently in the process of building.

A little further down the road, Apple is building their own, albeit slightly larger data center where they´ll store racks and racks of servers. Apple´s center, by the way, will take up 500,000 square feet of space. The iPhone maker is no stranger to Prineville, however, as they´re already nearing the end of their 10,000 square foot data center, which should be completed by the end of this month at the latest. Like Apple´s other data centers and facilities, the company is pledging their Prineville centers will be as green as possible, using 100% renewable energy. Apple came under fire earlier this year when Greenpeace released a report criticizing the tech company for contributing to “dirty” cloud computing.

With both of these companies moving to central Oregon, the local economy stands to greatly benefit as new development moves into the area. According to Jason Carr, head of the Prineville office of Economic Development for Central Oregon, (EDCO) "it would not be surprising if there was more than or close to two million square feet in data center space between the two companies.”

While data centers aren´t often stocked with employees, the city stands to benefit from these companies more in the way of the taxes and “community fees” they´ll be receiving.

When the city was drafting their tax break propositions for the companies, they added this community fee to be levied in lieu of taxes. Apple stands to pay about $140,000 annually to help offset the cost of community services. Facebook, on the other hand, will pay a slightly smaller $110,000 annually.

These companies are also pitching in by picking up the tab for some public utility improvements.

Oregon has plenty to offer these large tech companies, such as cheap and reliable energy, plenty of land, and a climate conducive to data centers: arid, cool and dry, a happy environment for masses of electronic equipment.