Modular Data Center Design for Facebook’s Sweden Data Center

Facebook recently teamed up with Emerson Network Power to create a modular data center design to be used in the construction of its second Sweden data center. The facility, Lulea 2, will be the pilot for the rapid deployment modular data center.

The design will leverage a number of established modular data center design elements, including previously fabricated building materials to be assembled on-site. The rapid deployment data center, or RDDC, will provide all the advantages of a typical modular facility, including reduced deployment time and the use of less materials. Additionally, Facebook hopes the new modular data center approach will result in cost reductions. Marco Magarelli of the Open Compute Project noted a potential savings of $21,000 through the utilization of a modular data center design over a traditional facility approach.

Details on Facebook’s Sweden Data Center
Facebook’s new Sweden modular data center will be a 125,000 square foot structure constructed adjacent to the company’s first Lulea data center, which first went online in June 2013. Emerson Network Power will ship more than 250 modules to the data center site, including the modular data center’s power skids, evaporative air handlers, a water treatment plant and solutions for the facility’s superstructure.

Emerson noted that Facebook’s second Sweden data center will have the same level of focus on data center sustainability as the first.

Both of the social media giant’s Lulea data centers leveraged designs from the Open Compute Project, including those for servers, storage, mechanical and electrical arrangements. The Sweden data centers also utilize a 100 percent renewable energy configuration.

How the RDDC concept came about
According to Magarelli, Facebook established the first elements of their latest RDDC modular facility by working to create a design that would be closer to a manufactured product than a construction approach. Through these efforts, the team created the “chassis” style, involving the pre-assembly of 12 foot wide, 40 foot long steel frames to make up the framework for the new facility. This process also included the creation of hot and cold server aisles.

“We concentrated our modular production efforts on the framework chassis over the racks – which define the cold aisle – to avoid having to ship modules that also include the hot-aisle space,” Magarelli wrote. “Instead, the hot aisle is established by the pitch at which chassis are set.”

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