Facebook figures out the way to bring down Data Center Cost is Lean

The idea of Lean started in Manufacturing and has spread through construction.  Now Facebook has chosen to build its 7th data center with Lean Construction techniques.

Faster, Leaner, Smarter, Better Data Centers

Friday, March 07, 2014 · Posted by  at 1:30 AM

Four years ago, Facebook broke ground on its first greenfield data center project in Prineville, Oregon. In the years since, we’ve deployed six iterations of that design, culminating in the first building currently under construction at our new campus in Altoona, Iowa. With facilities around the world, we constantly challenge ourselves to improve our data center designs to maximize efficiency, reduce material use, and speed up build times.

At this year’s Open Compute Summit, we previewed what we believe will be a step change in those ongoing efficiency efforts: a new “rapid deployment data center” (RDDC) concept that takes modular and lean construction principles and applies them at the scale of a Facebook data center.

We expect this new approach to data center design will enable us to construct and deploy new capacity twice as fast as our previous approach. We also believe it will prove to be much more site-agnostic and will greatly reduce the amount of material used in the construction. And with today’s exciting news from my colleague Joel Kjellgren, we will get to test these theses: Our newly announced second building at our Luleå, Sweden, campus will be the first Facebook data center to be built to our RDDC design.

If you want to watch a video that shows the presentation you can go to this one. http://youtu.be/yu8jin33G64?t=21m50s

I found this information thanks to GigaOm’s Derrick Harris who was at the Open Compute Summit.

The first method Facebook is employing, called the “chassis approach,” is actually more similar to an automobile assembly line, where the chassis is built separately and then built upon from there. In Facebook’s case, the chassis is a 12-foot by 40-foot unit that will sit above rows of racks and house lighting, cable trays, and everything else that typically goes above a row of servers. Facebook data center engineer Marco Magarelli wrote in the blog post detailing the new methods that the company chose the chassis approach over standard containers “to avoid shipping the empty space that will eventually be occupied by the racks.”

How a chassis is built and delivered. Source: Facebook

How a chassis is built and delivered. Source: Facebook

Sample instructions for putting together the pieces in the flat pack. Source: Facebook

Sample instructions for putting together the pieces in the flat pack. Source: Facebook