February 23, 2013
Facebook Preps Cold Storage Facility In Oregon To House Old Photos
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
In an attempt to find a more efficient way to host some of the website´s older content, Facebook is preparing to launch a new “cold storage” data center at its Prineville, Oregon facility to free up resources on its main “hot” servers.
According to Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian, who broke the story on Wednesday, Facebook users have uploaded more than 240 billion photos to the popular social media website, as well as countless text posts and videos. However, just 8 percent of those pictures account for more than 80 percent of the site´s total traffic.
“Facebook knows you might want to see your old photos again someday. Or scroll back through your Timeline to revisit your posts as an online diary. But storing all those pictures — and keeping them immediately available — takes a lot of space,” Rogoway said. “Not in the physical sense, but in the virtual. That means lots of hard drives, lots of storage — and lots of energy.”
So in order to save on storage space and cut energy costs, Facebook executives will be using cutting-edge style storage techniques in cooled rooms in order to allow their servers to operate more efficiently, reported AllFacebook´s Justin Lafferty. Those servers will be used mostly to store older images that are not frequently viewed by users, but that still need to be accessible.
“Unlike its traditional ℠hot servers,´ which are always on and ready to deliver data, the servers at these cold storage facilities will be asleep, awaiting a request for old material,” explains PCMag reporter Angela Moscaritolo. “There are a number of benefits to this approach. For starters, the cold-storage data centers will cost a third less [to operate] than a standard data center.”
“While the facility itself will be smaller than a live data center, each rack of servers has eight times more storage, and is five times more energy efficient,” she added. “Facebook already has two massive data centers in Prineville, which together used 71 million kilowatts of power in nine months — equivalent to the consumption of roughly 6,000 homes. It will, however, take a bit longer than normal to access these older photos.”
However, Facebook promises that most users will not notice the delay, according to Rogoway. The new cold storage center will complement two other data centers at Prineville, he added. The project is scheduled to be completed in three phases, with the first likely to be operational by this fall.