The problem with hosting within the San Francisco Bay Area is the extremely high cost of commercial land with around $80-150 per square foot and low availability of land, even around Palo Alto there is scarcity of land and zoning issues. Facebook has followed the model of sharing, leasing and now owning their own data centers. They can also avoid the bigger issue of earthquakes as their office’s close location to the San Andreas fault line as shown in the right-side image.
The entity which controlled the purchase & planning to keep Facebook private was Vitesse LLC. The company Vitesse maybe related to their possible network supplier or maybe just a football association.
What is interesting is that the remote locations that was chosen Prineville, Oregon which is a long way from its San Francisco offices but from a data protection and security perspective it makes sense. The Prineville location was selected because of the lower power prices, enterprise zoning and size of the land. The other benefit is that because of the dry climate Facebook is able to use evaporative cooling systems to further reduce power consumption.
Google operates a large data center in The Dalles, Oregon just near the Columbia River which powers a large hydroelectic dam. Amazon runs its datacenter operations out of Boardman, Ohio.
The move into rural america is a massive support for regional locations, and it is likely other companies will follow Facebook’s lead in selecting Prineville, Oregon for their data center locations. The central data location will also likely reduce the costs associated with running multiple locations and having to deal with Facebook user data de-duplication as previously it has had 4 data centers in San Francisco, Santa Clara, New York & London, UK.
Crook County had a 17.4% unemployment rate as of November 2009 so the construction should assist the local community. The hiring of the 35 employees located on site will begin in September 2010, and hiring should be complete by December 2013. Facebook has applied for a 10-year waiver of all income and excise taxes under the Oregon Investment Advantage program.
The city of Prineville will recieve a franchise fee from Pacific Power for any power the datacenter uses. The company will pay an annual $110,000 community fee and $27,000 in porperty tax. The actual site only has plans for 35 staff initially but this maybe expanded as there is plans for 49 parking spaces. The construction process has already begun and heavy machinery can be seen on site drilling holes as part of the preparation for the building.