In the town of Luleå in northern Sweden, COWI is involved in building a giant server hall for Facebook.
“Outstanding! And much better than the plants in the United States.” Those were the words of Facebook´s Vice President of infrastructure, Jay Parikh, when the first stage of the company´s new server hall in Luleå was shown to the press on June 12 this year. COWI played a central role in designing the power for the server hall’s first stage. The second stage of the project is already underway.
“The design for stage two of this project has just begun, and hopefully we will be a big part of that too, just like we were in the first stage,” says Project Manager Hans Persson.
The colder, the better
There are several good reasons why Facebook decided to place its new server halls in Sweden. First, the need for efficient cooling which is essential for a server hall of this size, and second, the natural low temperature of northern Sweden. In the summer when the weather gets warmer, the air passes by cooling water before entering the server rooms.
It started out as quite a modest assignment and Hans Persson was named Coordinator and Second Opinion Provider on Facebook’s new data centre in Luleå. As time went on, though, this small-scale assignment grew in scope. Persson assembled a team around him, including a full-time employee in Dubai to be ‘the spider in the web’ between Facebook and the contractor, Bravida, which hired COWI for the job. Over time, this project grew to be one of the biggest electrical projects in COWI.
“The mere scale of this building is absolutely impressive. It covers an area of more than 30,000 square metres, more than three football fields. And this is just the beginning. There are plans to build two more halls like this in the future,” says Persson.
When the second stage of the project is finished in the spring of 2014, the new Facebook server hall will be ready for use.