A small team of Facebook engineers spent the past two years tackling a big challenge: how to scale our computing infrastructure in the most efficient and economical way possible. Working out of an electronics lab in the basement of our Palo Alto, California headquarters, the team designed our first data center from the ground up; a few months later we started building it in Prineville, Oregon. The project, which started out with three people, resulted in us building our own custom-designed servers, power supplies, server racks and battery backup systems. Because we started with a clean slate, we had total control over every part of the system, from the software to the servers to the data center. This meant we could:

  • Use a 480-volt electrical distribution system to reduce energy loss.

  • Remove anything in our servers that didn’t contribute to efficiency.

  • Reuse hot aisle air in winter to both heat the offices and the outside air flowing into the data center.

  • Eliminate the need for a central uninterruptible power supply.

The result is that our Prineville data center uses 38 percent less energy to do the same work as Facebook’s existing facilities, while costing 24 percent less. Everyone has full access to these specifications. We want you to tell us where we didn’t get it right and suggest how we could improve. And opening the technology means the community will make advances that we wouldn’t have discovered if we had kept it secret.


The ultimate goal of the Open Compute Project is to spark a collaborative dialogue. We’re already talking with our peers about how we can work together on Open Compute Project technology. We want to recruit others to be part of this collaboration -- and we invite you to join us in this mission to collectively develop the most efficient computing infrastructure possible.