Facebook to Double the Size of Oregon Data Center

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Social networking site Facebook (www.facebook.com) has decided to double the size of its data center in Oregon before the first phase has even been constructed.

The move signals the website’s explosive growth, jumping from just short of 400 million users back in January to reaching just over 500 million users last month.

In January, Facebook revealed it was constructing its first wholly owned data center.

Located in Prineville, Oregon, the 147,000-square-foot data center is set to open early next year.

The social network will now add another 160,000 square feet of data center space to the facility.

“To meet the needs of our growing business, we have decided to go ahead with the second phase of the project, which was an option we put in place when we broke ground earlier this year,” Tom Furlong, Facebook director of site operations, wrote on the company’s website. “The second phase should be finished by early 2012.”

Twitter also recently announced it is moving to its own, custom-built data center, somewhere in the Salt Lake City area later this year, in an effort to improve its service. The site currently has its servers hosted with NTT America.

Facebook says that some 150 to 200 employees are working each day at the construction site, while the data center will generate 35 long-term jobs once it opens.

The data center project came under attack in March when environmental organization Greenpeace criticized Facebook for building the facility in a region that gets its energy from a coal-powered utility company.

However, Facebook says it chose the state of Oregon because its dry and temperate climate is conducive to an energy-efficient technique called evaporative cooling technique.

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