Eagle Mountain • Facebook’s parent company plans to nearly double its already gargantuan footprint of advanced data storage facilities at Eagle Mountain, bringing Meta’s investment in the rural Utah County site to $1.5 billion.
Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted the announcement Friday on Facebook, hours after exuberant Meta employees greeted visitors for a first tour inside one of five massive server buildings in H-shape that stand out sharply in an expanse of sagebrush and desert.
Zuckerberg likened the data servers to “a giant supercomputer” and said the 2 million square feet of additional space at Eagle Mountain would run entirely on renewable energy and use far less water than those centers do. usually for cooling.
“Our data center technology,” he wrote, “is pretty wild.”
The construction will bring the Eagle Mountain data facility to nearly 4.5 million square feet, making it one of 15 significant facilities Meta has deployed around the world to store data provided to billions of people. users of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other social media platforms it owns. .
Two buildings on the site were commissioned in 2021 and three more are under construction, all before the expansion. Usually private, Meta opened the center for a tour Friday by media, guests and a delegation from Eagle Mountain and the Alpine School District.
Sleek, futuristic warehouse spaces hold unimaginable rows of server racks in buzzing hallways for so long employees ride scooters through them. Each floor-to-ceiling rack is filled with hundreds of flashing hard drives, flash memory, and other storage technology containing backup bits of all those pictures, comments, likes, and other personal online interactions.
“It’s the Meta cloud,” said Lisa Garrett, site manager at Eagle Mountain, as she opened a server drawer strung with neatly braided network cables.
The expansion of the new remote campus of huge metal-clad data warehouses and perimeter fences on the south end of town will also employ 1,750 construction workers at its peak, Meta said, and create up to 300 operational jobs when completed.
“It’s a great day for everyone involved,” said Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland, who has seen his small, young community grow dramatically since Meta began in 2018.
The mayor praised Meta’s initial expenditure of $120 million for road and utility services to the site and said a convoluted set of state and local tax incentives offered at the time to lure Meta to Eagle Mountain “had been made profitable”.
The company’s presence, he said, has signified a new era of economic opportunity in the area, especially for young Eagle Mountain residents.
“We’re trying to plan a city of the future, which is something very different,” Westmoreland said, “and we could never do it alone.”
The city’s director of economic development, Evan Berrett, said Eagle Mountain is seeing “a huge increase” in commercial and residential development. Tyson Foods recently announced it would open a new packaging plant in Eagle Mountain, creating up to 1,000 jobs, Berrett said – and he confirmed Google was also in talks to locate a facility in the community.
Meta is also giving $200,000 to ongoing efforts to restore water flows through Utah County’s Hobble Creek as part of the company’s commitment to return twice the volume of water as the site. consumes in the Provo River watershed, through restoration and conservation.
The grant, given to the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, will restore some 467 million gallons of water to the watershed each year, the company said, adding to other replenishment and conservation efforts it has launched. under Utah drought conditions.
“Being good neighbors is important to us,” said William Marks, Meta Community Development Manager onsite at Eagle Mountain. He also noted Meta’s extensive support of the Alpine School District’s educational and community programs.
Meta has adopted sustainability goals for its data centers worldwide. Still, a Salt Lake Tribune article reported in July that the 970,000 square foot site at Eagle Mountain consumed 13.5 million gallons during the year between June 2021 and May 2022, according to information provided by the town.
Through internal innovations in the design of its data centers, Marks said, Meta has reduced water consumption at its facilities by 80% of what typical centers use, largely by creating a water circulation system. and induction to move hot and cold air currents through the building.
It also shared design technology with other data center operators, he said.
For Friday’s visit, Marks said, outside temperatures were cool enough that the facility didn’t use water for cooling or its HVAC systems.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is also involved in restoring flow on the Provo River in conjunction with non-profit organization Trout Unlimited and supports the Conservation District’s “Flip Your Strip” program, which offers incentives for residents to convert their lawns and parking strips to water-bearing landscaping.
All told, Meta said, his water projects would ultimately return more than 882 million gallons a year to the region’s watersheds.
Friday’s news in Utah came as Bloomberg reported that Zuckerberg announced plans Thursday to freeze hiring and restructure parts of the business. Any major budget cuts to the company would be among the first since its inception in 2004.