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Facebook's 'coolest' data hub coming to Sweden

Facebook's 'coolest' data hub coming to Sweden

Published: 27 Oct 2011 16:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Oct 2011 16:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook announced Thursday that it would immediately begin building a massive data centre -- its third globally and first in Europe -- in the Swedish town of Luleå, near the Arctic Circle.

"After a rigorous review process of sites across Europe, we concluded that Luleå offered the best package of resources, including a suitable climate for environmental cooling (and) clean power resources," said the world's largest social media site, which counts more than 800 million users worldwide.

The icy region was especially attractive due to its cool climate, "since cooling servers is a major issue for data centres," Facebook said, adding that Luleå also fulfilled its requirement that the data centre primarily run on renewable hydropower.

“Thanks to our main river Lule river, we can guarantee this," Luleå mayor Karl Petersen said in the statement, pointing out that the river supplied Sweden with nine percent of its electricity.

The Luleå data centre will consist of three server buildings, each covering an area of around 28,000 square metres, Facebook said, adding that construction would begin immediately.

The first building would be open for business within a year, it said, while the entire data centre was expected to be up and running by 2014.

"About 300 full-time positions will be required during the first three years," Facebook said, without revealing how much the construction was expected to cost.

Swedish Enterprise Minister Annie Lööf meanwhile announced that the government would help subsidize the new data centre, pumping in 103 million kronor ($16 million).

"The investment in a data centre will give the area expertise in a future growth industry and, not least with the proximity to the Luleå Technical University, will create possibilities for more companies and activities in the region going forward," she said in a statement.

The public investment drew criticism from the Green Party, however, which took issue with taxpayer money going to support one company when important infrastructure improvements remain under funded.

“The most important investments aren't support for a specific company, but are rather about basic infrastructure to enable us to communicate. Broadband across the entire country, railways to be able to transport manufactured goods, renovating residential areas so that Sweden's large industrial sectors have the chance to grow and compete internationally,” Green Party spokesperson Gustav Fridolin told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.

However, Mayor Petersen was bullish on how the Facebook facility would help turn the Luleå region into a major node for European data traffic, dubbing the region "The Node Pole".

"We hope other global companies see the innate climate qualities and benefits of the Node Pole region, and choose to follow in Facebook's path," he said.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:46 October 27, 2011 by Acero
I think its important to note the following about the announcement:

It has been completely overhyped.

Its like someone saying they are going to build a road two meters long in the middle of nowhere. These data centres create zero long term jobs.

Lulea is pretty much the world leader in housing data centres (aka "a server"). Most large servers located in the EU are there. Or in Switzerland and Norway! Why...because the outside temp. If its colder outside it costs less to cool the actual building down. Decrease in electricty costs- which are the highest costs (and nearly only costs) for these data centres.

The shame about sweden is that with oh sooo many technically gifted people, most of these computer companies choose Ireland to have their head offices. Why? Because overall costs are way lower!!

Not going to get into the swedish tax system here..but it is NOT business friendly!
16:49 October 27, 2011 by Bigd
I agree with the green party! Why should the swedish gvmnt subsidize a particular (US) company...hmm wonder why..

plus are we to understand facebook will still be the new hot social ntwking site much beyond 2014???

I heard its expected lifetime was abt 10yrs (taking it to 2015)
17:04 October 27, 2011 by Mib
Jesus....such negativity from The Green Party and posters. It's a boost to Luleå...puts them on the map globally as a place to do business and enhances Sweden's view globally, especially in the US who think it's Switzerland with Polar bears roaming the streets :0) The Government like Ireland subsidise certain businesses because they see the bigger picture and in the medium to long term, which is a struggle for civil servants normally.

So...embrace the lurve from Facebook that in my opinion is good for keeping in contact with real Friends and family abroad, but not much else.
17:43 October 27, 2011 by Acero
.....I never derided Lulea....didnt i say it was a world leader...dot dot dot. It puts it on the map as the place to have a server no doubt. its 45k residents (who cant wait to leave the place) should be well chuffed!!

On a serious note: the place is a world leader and a complete masterstroke. just really a shame where it is....
17:52 October 27, 2011 by skogsbo
it will create a few jobs in maintence and security, plus employ lots of folk on temporary contracts whilst it's built. Better to employ 300 folk short term here, than have the work go to another country. Plus it will indirectly employ folk in power generation too. I don't really see anything negative here, other than the posters moaning.
17:59 October 27, 2011 by Abe L
It's a very positive development in fact, the greens are just idiots as usual.

It does create jobs in various fields as you can't operate such a datacenter in such a location without various forms of infrastructure and services. It also comes with tons of service contracts for hardware support.

And the best of it all, it puts Sweden on the international Datacenter map. If Facebook builds a DC there, many more will follow and it opens a whole new industry in an area that desperately needs one.
20:25 October 27, 2011 by krattan
Perfect location for FRA.
19:37 October 28, 2011 by eovti
If this center will be in Luleå, then it, and all it contains, will be under Swedish jurisdiction, right? Doesn't that mean Facebook will have to change their policies in some respects, since Sweden has pretty strict laws on what you can do with personal information you have stored?

Just wondering...
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