It was announced this week that Facebook will soon build its first server location outside of the United States – near the Arctic Circle. Facebook, now 800 million members strong, intends to complete the new data center by 2014 to serve the growing European population of Facebook users. Facebook now has more users outside the U.S. than inside.
Being built in Lula, Sweden, located 60 miles [100 kilometers] south of the Arctic Circle, the new facility will be near hydropower stations on a river that generates double the amount of electricity output as the Hoover Dam. As a result, the site will be fully powered by hydroelectric sources. The location was also picked because of the cold climate which will aid in keeping the servers cool.
This move by Facebook is just the latest move by a major technology company to build data centers in Scandinavia, as two years ago Google purchased a paper mill in Hamina, Finland and turned it into a data center, using seawater from the Baltic Sea for its cooling system.
With winter temperatures well below freezing and summertime highs that rarely climb above 80F [25C], the town of Lulea has used its frigid climate as a selling point in its efforts to establish itself as a hub for server farms.
So, the next time your computer freezes when you are on Facebook, blame the temperatures at the Arctic Circle.