Clean energy, one of a number of reasons for Facebook to establish in Luleå. Photo Scanpix

LTU one of the reasons why Facebook choose Luleå

On Thursday Facebook announced that they will locate its first European data center in Luleå. Two years ago, Luleå began to work to get international IT companies to discover the region. Thursday, 27 October, Facebook came to town and told why they selected Luleå as a production location.

Photo: Tom Furlong, Facebook's Director of establishment visit Lulea
Tom Furlong, Facebook's Director of establishment on visit in Luleå

– After a rigorous review process of sites across Europe, we concluded that Luleå offered the best package of resources - including a suitable climate for environmental cooling, clean power resources, available land, Luleå University of Technology and supportive business and corporate environment, says Tom Furlong, Director of Site Operations at Facebook.

Image: Minister for enteprise Annie Lööf
Minister for enterprise Annie Lööf

The government has decided to grant regional investment aid to start-up of Facebook's data center in Luleå. Support will comprise about 103 million.

- The investment in a data center will bring excellence to Luleå in a future growth area and, not least because of the proximity of Luleå University of Technology, creating opportunities for many companies and businesses to eventually emerge in the region, says Minister for enterprise Annie Loof.

Facebook opted for Luleå due to the regions unique characteristics. There is a high standard of Technical competence provided by the University, and a natural climate that can provide fresh air cooling all year round.  The reliable electricity grid, the low electricity prices and the clean energy were also big advantages.

- That fact that Facebook is coming to us is evidence of the regions qualities and the huge team effort from everybody involved. Luleå was up against lots of other options and with this type of investment, you don’t take a gamble” says Matz Engman, CEO of Luleå Näringsliv.

The largest of its kind
The data centre will be the largest of its kind in Europe, with an area of 84,000 square meters which is equivalent to more than 11 soccer fields.The construction will take place in three phases and when completed it will consist of three server rooms. The first should be operational in one year and the whole plant should be completed by 2014. Much of the traffic from Facebook’s global 800 million users will be handled at the new datacentre.

- This is the largest single investment in Luleå since the steel mill was built in 1940. It is the beginning of a completely new and digital industry era for our entire region. With this establishment we become a Node for data traffic in all of Europe,says Karl Petersen, Mayor of Luleå.

Overall this project means that several billion SEK will be invested within the next three years and that 300 annual job opportunities will be created just during the construction.

What is a data centre?
A data centre acts as a giant computer. It houses thousands of computer servers that by working together can process vast amount of data traffic. The servers are linked with the outside world via fibre optic cables, and can thereby use their combined capacity to make extensive calculations in order to get web services – such as Facebook – to work.

When you use Facebook, for example to update your status or comment on your friends pictures and films, the server in Facebook’s data centre receives and calculates your requirements so this act can be experienced directly at the same moment that you preform it. With 800 million users worldwide and more than 100 million photos uploaded every day, there is a massive amount of data that needs to be processed by Facebook every day.