Dev

Here’s a real-time view of what your Facebook clicks are doing to the environment

Facebook is famously green on the data center side, and today, it’s introducing a new level of transparency. With two new dashboards, you’ll now be able to see the real-time impact and efficiency behind the scenes of all your Facebook activity.

Every like and comment and photo shared on Facebook has some ecological cost. The machines that process and store them use power, which still mostly comes from coal; and they need to be cooled. Facebook and the Open Compute coalition of hardware manufacturers and tech companies have made great strides in designing the most efficient machines possible for doing this job with as little negative environmental impact as possible.

In fact, Facebook has two data centers dedicated to Open Compute’s green-first designs. One is in the cooler clime of Prineville, Ore.; the other is in Forest City, NC.

Both data centers now have real-time online dashboards anyone can access (check out the Prineville dashboard and/or the Forest City dashboard for yourself — both are interesting and interactive).

On these dashboards, you can look at a visual representation of important data-center stats — the humidity, the power usage effectiveness (PUE), the water usage efficiency (WUE), and the temperature. You can also track these metrics over time throughout the past 24 hours, the past week, the past quarter, or even the past full year.

“We’re proud of our data center efficiency, and we think it’s important to demystify data centers and share more about what our operations really look like,” writes Facebook efficiency project manager Lyrica McTiernan in an Open Compute blog post today.

“We began sharing PUE for our Prineville data center at the end of Q2 2011 and released our first Prineville WUE in the summer of 2012. Now we’re pulling back the curtain to share some of the same information that our data center technicians view every day.”

For even more visual stimulation, here’s a collection of photos we took during a walking tour of Facebook’s Prineville data center. Especially interesting: How Facebook manages to keep the machines running at top efficiency without traditional air conditioning.

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