Last week, Prineville Facebook Data Center staff and Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce held events to celebrate 10 years since the data center went online

PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK DATA CENTER - ictured left to right; Seth Crawford, Crook County Judge, Brian Barney, Crook County Commissioner and Jerry Brummer, Crook County Commissioner.

Ten years have already gone by since the Prineville Facebook Data Center completed its first building and went online.

"We are so thrilled to celebrate 10 years of partnership with the Prineville community! Prineville is home to our first data center, so we wanted to do something special to mark the anniversary of the Prineville data center coming online," noted an excerpt from the Prineville Data Center website.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary, the staff at Facebook and the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce provided several events throughout the week.

"We are always appreciative of the work that the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce does, so we had a joint event at Stryker Park just to say thank you to the people of Prineville and acknowledge the small businesses locally here," indicated William Marks, community development manager for Prineville Facebook Data Center.

"This week the highlight of the ten-year anniversary was celebrating connections and partnerships we have built with the community. To do that, we really wanted to highlight some of those areas where our partnerships are strongest. For example, we provided a virtual reality donation to the school district. We are excited to offer this technology to schools through a $12,000 virtual reality technology grant to the Crook County School District, as well as additional laptop and monetary donations to several nonprofits," added Marks.

In addition, Prineville Community leaders joined Facebook staff on Monday, Nov. 9 for a first-ever virtual reality tour of the data center, using Quest 2 headsets. The group in attendance included teachers, small business owners and city and county officials.

"It gave them a glimpse of what the Meta Verse is going to be. We teleported them to Melo Park—the Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, and then we teleported them back to Prineville," commented Marks enthusiastically.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford was in attendance and enjoyed the virtual reality tour.

"It was really unique. I have never done virtual reality before like that. It was really exciting to see the new technology. It was really amazing that by putting on a headset, you feel like you are in a separate place with separate people," said Crawford.

He went on to say, "I think it is great that Facebook is getting this technology to the future, and our children are the future of our community, so they will be at an even pace with the rest of the world."

Also on Monday, Marks indicated that he visited an exhibit where the students at Steins Pillar Elementary were building Lego buildings, which represented famous structures around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge.

"It was really inspiriting to see those students, because that Lego project is the first step overall in the Robotics program that we support at Crook County," he said.

Marks went on to explain that they build Legos at the elementary level, then move up to simple Lego Robotics. When they get to middle school and high school, they graduate to DEX Robotics.

Ten years ago, the Prineville Data Center opened its doors to the press, including a tour of their first building in April 2011. Under a big tent with several of Facebook's dignitaries, Prineville city and county leaders, and Oregon leaders enjoyed dinner, dancing, and a surprise visit from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The CEO came onstage to address the group later in the evening.

"This is a massive milestone, building our first data center, designing it to be completely state-of-the-art in all these ways; the team back at Facebook are who designed the servers that are going into the date center," said Zuckerberg on that evening. "This is a massive set up for us from the leased space that we have been operating out of before. The experience here has been great so far. We have learned a lot. It's a great milestone to have our first data center here."

Prior to the data center opening its doors to the press, there was a tour of the facility, and several dignitaries were present, including the director of site operations at the time for Facebook, Tom Furlong, vice president of technical operations at the time, Jonathan Heiliger, and office-holders at the time: Oregon State Representative Mike McLane, Prineville Mayor Bette Roppe, Crook County Judge Mike McCabe, and Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

At the height of the recession, Facebook chose Prineville to set up its first data center—one that would become one of the most energy-efficient of its kind in the world. Three years later, the company went from five hundred million users in July 2010 to 1.06 billion users in February 2013. The first 300,000-square-foot building was completed in one year and building two by the end of 2013.

At the Prineville Data Center, more than 350 jobs have been supported (including contractors), and 1,000 construction workers are onsite on a given day. The current campus is currently 4.6 million square feet, according to the Facebook Data website.

Investments in the Prineville Facebook Data Center includes more than $2 billion dollars. Breaking ground occurred in 2010, and the data center went online in 2011. They have provided more than $3 million in community support, with community programs and partners including Crook County School District robotics program and CCSD CTE programs, City of Prineville, COVID-19 Relief grants, Crook County Kids Inc., Friends of Children of Central Oregon, Redemption House, H.O.R.S.E.S on the Ranch, and Central Oregon Trail Alliance.

The Prineville Facebook Data has an evaporative cooling system that operates from cooled air, rather than electrical cooling systems. One of the unique designs in the server rooms is that there are built-in power shelves in the racks. There are very few embellishments in the server rooms and any given server can be taken out of the rack by a technician, simply by pulling a couple of cables to remove it. It makes for a straightforward design which is easy to repair and maintain. The server halls have "crash carts" to enable the technicians to move about the data center and provide a secure place to work on the servers.

There are a number of items that factored into the data center's energy efficiency and the innovative technologies and infrastructure designs that allowed the company to build one of the most efficient data centers possible. One of the big considerations was the re-use of the materials that were on-site, including the water tank located in the courtyard at the center of building 1A. The structure is two stories high and has a catchment on the top which recycles moisture run-off for wastewater and landscaping. The data center also uses air evaporative cooling, which utilizes the cooler, Central Oregon temperatures, which means that there are no chillers or cooling towers.

The custom servers use 38% less energy and can operate at higher temperatures. Also, the there are fewer conversions of power between the substation and the data center, which results in reduced energy lost. The data center was recognized in 2011 with a coveted LEED Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council, which is a green building certification system.

"LEED is really a massively long checklist that helps keep your construction activity in check and makes sure that you are an environmentally friendly steward during construction activity," a statement made by Ken Patchett, the Prineville Data Center manager at the time.


For more information on the Prineville Facebook Data Center, go to:

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