Facebook Launches Data Center with New Network Architecture

    Recently, Iowa has become a very popular destination among data center operators. Facebook has officially announced the opening of the first building of its latest air-cooled modular data center in Altoona. Representatives of the social network also said that this date will be the longest center in the world.

    This is the first Facebook data center, which will be 100% powered by electricity generated by a wind farm (wind farm). During the construction of the data center, what Facebook calls the “data center fabric”, third-generation design based on a single high-performance network that will replace traditional clusters, was applied.

    “This is one of the fastest construction processes among all of our facilities, and we must first of all be grateful to the local population of Iowa,” said Bryce Townes, construction manager for Altoona. Facebook has already begun construction of a second building for the data center, the estimated completion and commissioning date is the end of 2015.

    Back in April 2013, the company planned to invest about $ 300 million in the construction of the first stage. It includes a data center with an area of ​​44.2 thousand square meters. m., which consists of 4 buildings of data storage. Power will come from a wind farm near Wellsburg. This wind farm plans to generate about 140 MW of energy, which is more than enough to cover possible growth in the future.

    A new kind of network architecture

    In order to attract Facebook, the city of Altoon has exempted it from all property taxes for a period of 20 years. This data center will be the first to commission a new network architecture. Facebook networks were previously built using clusters, but the company said that this method is not suitable for the mega data center to work well.

    Network engineer Alexei Andreev explains that cluster size is limited by the switch port density. “They have their own internal architectures that require more extensive knowledge of software and hardware. Given the large area of ​​the data center, the impact of hardware and software failures can be quite significant, ”Andreev said.

    The deployment of small pods clusters, as Facebook called them, and the use of a decentralized (peer-to-peer) network architecture, where each pod cluster can “talk” to another pod cluster, eliminates the need for high-density switches.

    The pod cluster consists of 4 devices - fabric switches and 48 conventional switches, each of which is connected to fabric switches via a 40 Gb channel. The servers in the rack are connected to the TOR switch using a 10 Gb channel, the total bandwidth of each rack is 160 Gbit.

    The system is fully automated, and engineers will never have to configure a single device manually. If the device fails, it is replaced and automatically configured using software.

    From now on, Facebook is going to build all its data centers using the new network architecture, and existing objects will gradually switch to it.

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