Feb 12, 2021

Facebook to add 900,000 sq ft to Eagle Mountain campus

Data Centres
Harry Menear
4 min
The expansion project will add a further two data centre buildings to Facebook’s hyperscale data centre in Eagle Mountain, Utah
The expansion project will add a further two data centre buildings to Facebook’s hyperscale data centre in Eagle Mountain, Utah...

Social networking giant Facebook has announced a massive expansion project taking place at its hyperscale data centre campus in Eagle Mountain, Utah, one of the facilities it uses to support its social media app, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp.

Construction on Facebook’s Eagle Mountain data centre campus has been underway since 2018, with the first phase establishing a footprint of approximately 1.5mn square feet of land spanning three buildings and using more than 50,000 yards of structural concrete, 8,000 tons of steel, and 2mn hours of labour. Each of the three buildings is, according to William Marks, Facebook’s Community Development Manager in Utah, “the size of a modern-day aircraft carrier—nearly four football fields long.” 

Now, in response to what Marks calls an “immense” amount of traffic driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook is expanding the Eagle Mountain campus even further. “For the first time ever, there are more than 3bn people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger around the world each month. That includes 2.6 billion people using Facebook alone, and more than 2.3bn people using at least one of our services every single day. The reason we can handle this immense amount of traffic is thanks to our data centres, just like what’s being built in Eagle Mountain,” said Marks in an interview in July last year.  

Bigger all the time

The planned expansion will add another two buildings to the Eagle Mountain campus, expanding its footprint by 900,000 square feet. 

Facebook operates or is building a total of 16 data centres around the world, using leading open source hardware architecture techniques devised by its spin off organisation, the Open Compute Project Foundation. In a recent interview with Data Centre Magazine, Steve Helvie of the OCP noted that, due to efficient design principles and a modular, toolless approach to construction, Facebook only needs to employ one technician for every 40,000 servers in its facilities.

However, during the construction and expansion process, Facebook says that the Eagle Mountain campus will be a huge source of employment in the local area, with approximately 1,500 workers on site at construction’s peak. 

US Representative Jefferson Moss commented: “This additional investment from Facebook is amazing news for our community and a testament to Utah’s forward thinking policies that continue to encourage investments in our state.” 

Sustainability at Hyperscale

Facebook, like other leading hyperscalers, is at the forefront of attempts to drive sustainability in the data centre industry. The company plans to make all 16 of its campuses carbon neutral and 100% supported by renewable energy. 

Its commitments are leading to the construction of more than 5,400 MW of new solar and wiln power plants globally, which collectively reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.6mn metric tonnes over the past three years. 

However, the company does help its carbon balance sheet with the purchase of carbon credits, which allow it to discount emitted carbon in exchange for investing in sustainability research and carbon capture projects like forest conservation. In 2019, Facebook offset 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions using credits - the equivalent of more than 21,000 passenger vehicles or 550 rail cars worth of coal burned.  

In Utah, Facebook has invested heavily in solar power, delivering over 500 MW of clean power to the Utah Grid, meaning that upon completion, the Eagle Mountain campus will be 100% supported by solar power generated within the state. 

“Facebook’s sustainable expansion in Eagle Mountain shows the long-term commitment this global tech leader has to Utah. Since 2018, this data center has been a tremendous boon to the local economy and we’re extremely grateful for Facebook’s ongoing investment in our state,” commented Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox. 

Security Concerns

Information about the Eagle Mountain campus’ power capacity, as well as other details of the site are hard to come by. Facebook (and other hyperscalers like Google and Amazon Web Services) is extremely cagey about the details of its facilities. 

Local Utah residents have even complained of harassment by private security staff when driving near the Eagle Mountain campus on public roads. 

Local mother, Kendra Whatcott, commented on the Eagle Mountain campus’ Facebook page, claiming that, “The second your car is ‘spotted’ by security there is a security vehicle who follows you, outside on the public road,” adding that she was aware of those security details pulling over citizens, something the local sheriff's department assured her was illegal (it is). 

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Jun 22, 2021

NKG1 opens BDx Nanjing data centre campus

2 min
Big Data Exchange (BDx) launches the first phase of its Nanjing data centre campus in China with the opening of NKG1.

Big Data Exchange (BDx), a pan-Asian data centre company has launched its Nanjing data centre campus in China with the opening of its first facility, NKG1. The company said they “celebrated” the launch of the campus, located in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the nation's richest regions and its largest import and export base. 

Following its certificate of completion from the Urban and Rural Construction Bureau of Jiangning District in Nanjing City, the NKG1 campus is “now serving customers”. Construction on the Nanjing campus began in February last year. 

"We worked through the challenges of completing a major construction project during the peak of the pandemic because customers were anticipating this launch to support an unprecedented surge of growth and capacity requirements”, said Bill Gao, EVP & Chief Executive Officer of BDx Greater China. 

"The launch of NKG1 enables BDx to have new world-class data centre infrastructure in China. It also lays a solid foundation for BDx to provide OTTs, financial services institutions, and Fortune 500 MNC customers with high reliability, high redundancy, and low latency solutions”, he added. 

What does the NKG1 data centre include?

According to BDx, the NKG1 facility is the first data centre in the city to earn the Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Design Documents and offers 4MW of IT power for colocation. NKG1 is powered by two separate 10-kilovolt feeders from two substations that aim to provide the NKG campus with 60MVA of total power sanctioned from the grid.

During COVID-19, BDx says that its design and construction team focused on safety to ensure that the project was completed safely and without incident. This enabled the company to add critical capacity to this region and respond to the accelerated shift to digital environments that caused a surge in demand for data center services. “Research shows that demand hasn't dropped as the economy reopens”, BDx said. 

The launch of NKG2

Due to rising demand in China’s data centre market, BDx plans to launch the second phase of its Nanjing campus, NKG2, by the end of this year. “NKG2 is designed to be minimally manned and almost lights-out — a reigning philosophy across BDx's data center cluster. In addition, its highly automated features make for a more sustainable data center environment”, the company said.



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