Facebook Is Building A Large Data Center In Iowa

Posted Apr 24, 2013

Facebook is building a large data center near the city of Des Moines, Iowa.  Based in Altoona, Iowa, this will be Facebook’s fourth facility since 2010.  The first Facebook data center was built in Prineville, Oregon.  The cost of the new data center is unknown, but we know that it will be within the $1.8 billion in capital expenditures that Facebook projected for this year.

According to a report in the Des Moines Register, the facility’s total cost is going to be at about $1.5 billion.  Des Moines cites unnamed sources for this figure.  Facebook received approval from the Altoona City Council earlier this week.  The state has been offering tax incentives for tech companies to open up data centers there.  The data center will be built on a 200 acre plot of former soy and wheat fields.

Facebook’s VP of engineering Jay Parikh said in an interview with Reuters that users spend a lot of time sending messages and uploading photos.  Supporting this usage and the ability to launch new services requires more infrastructure.  “We don’t ever want to not be able to launch a product because we don’t have the compute ready for some new awesome product,” said Parikh.

Another reason for the expansion in infrastructure is because of the acquisition of Instagram.  Instagram is currently hosted on Amazon Web Services, but Facebook is planning to move the service to their own infrastructure once the data center in Iowa goes live.

Facebook is going to break ground for the data center in June and it will be up and running by the end of 2014 according to Facebook’s VP of site ops Tom Furlong.  The building will be 476,000 sq. ft. and there will be room to expand.

Facebook is going to commit a minimum investment of $300 million.  They will receive $18 million in state tax benefits and other incentives from the state.  The data center has a goal of getting 25% of their power from renewable power by 2015.  Facebook is even going to rely mostly on renewable energy for their data center in Lulea, Sweden.