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Facebook May Make Tiny Town a Data Center Mecca

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-tv-show-setup dept.

Facebook 136

miller60 writes "Just weeks after the opening of a Facebook data center in Prineville, Oregon, local officials say two more companies may build server farms in the small town. Facebook has touted Prineville as an ideal environment for using fresh air to cool servers. The news positions Prineville (pop. 10,000, unemployment rate 17 percent) to emerge as a data center hub similar to Quincy, Washington, a small farm town that now hosts five huge server farms."

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The natives probably won't be getting the jobs... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282362)

This sort of thing has happened in many other industries in many other places many times over. It's rarely the natives who get the jobs. Rather, it's experts and technicians from other regions who are brought in to do the specialized work. The natives who support these new arrivals may benefit, but the unemployed often remain unemployed.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282386)

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Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282428)

Actually it's sort of worse with datacenters in the fact they're large facilities but they produce very, very few local jobs. Most of the work is being done offsite over the internet or is completely automated.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (4, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282532)

Data centers don't really provide many jobs at all - local or otherwise. After the location is built out it's basically a skeleton staff to keep the servers physically repaired.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282534)

On the plus side, datacenters are a touch water and power heavy; but aren't particularly noisy, noxious, or dangerous.

What you have to watch out for is situations where state or local governments end up offering ludicrously generous "incentive" packages that the locals will still be eating in taxes long after the industry in question has moved on(datacenters not exactly being a business where deep roots in the community help much, so they can and will pack up and move if you try to buy them in with 'incentives').

You can forget reviving the dreams of your blue collar workforce or such; but a datacenter should be a reasonably quiet, unassuming producer of modest taxes and a few support jobs. Just don't get sucked into a bidding war to host one...

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282460)

Not directly, no. But people who do get teh jobz will move nearer their work. This will create additional jobs, as they must eat, drink, and shit nearby, particularly now due to the gas prices that we all enjoy.

I didn't see anything in TFA about tax breaks given, and am curious whether anyone knows whether that happened, and how much.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282826)

Do you think bringing in 30 people to create what maybe 3-5 local 'support' jobs in a town of 10,000 has any meaning whatsoever? Is 3-5 better than nothing? Yes. Is getting the data center for whatever deal they made worth it? I don't know but I hope the town didn't have to offer much.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284750)

Oh yes, there were lots of tax breaks given and those were a source of a lot of local angst. They have a 15 year exemption from property taxes and were looking for a 10 year exemption from state income and excise taxes.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (3, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282546)


Here's a real-life example - despite the objection of many retired veterans and other anti-mercenary citizens living in the area, the county government crookedly rubber-stamped a new facility of a Blackwater shell corporation, Wind-Zero. [] Yeah, look at that again - You have a racetrack, hotel, and an artillery range...a noisy, dirty Disneyland for law enforcement(artillery and helicopter noise pollution affecting vets who chose to retire in what they thought were gonna be quiet neighborhoods, and lead pollution affecting the wilderness and water table) Another method to funnel tax dollars for law enforcement "training" into corrupt private hands.

They say it will bring jobs. All of us know that's bullshit. They will bring in specialists from other counties, states, and countries. The expendables will be hired from nearby Mexicali(local businesses, especially agriculture, also choose to hire from Mexicali despite the county's ~30% unemployment rate), at minimum wage.

If you concerned citizens of America want to know where your country's headed, look no further than California's Imperial Valley. The most jobless county in the blingiest state.

The article:

Prineville (pop. 10,000, unemployment rate 17 percent)

See above, we have 167,000 population with ~30% unemployment.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (3, Informative)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282866)

Being in the middle of this high desert boom, I can say that most, if not all of the economic development brought into these areas are high on tech
and low on jobs. Our area, Goldendale Wa., just up the river from the new google server farm, has bent over for a regional landfill,
a gas fired turbine juice plant and windmills (1000's), The jobs created were security and maintenance.
One shining success, The cattle ranchers that had crappy land got rich leasing to the windmill operators.
One stated, " I can afford to ranch again"

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282632)

Every engineer and technician that moves into that town will need housing, food, retail, education, financial services, utilities, health services, and thousands of other necessities. That mean more business for the local businesses and thus more employment.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282718)

good luck at finding most of those in Prineville.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282924)

Former Oregonian here. You can find pretty much the whole list in Prineville (or any other town of 10,000 for that matter). Sure your restaurants and retail will be a bit limited but you can make up for that with the intertoob's and the like, or if you want to do it in person you've got a one hour drive to Bend (small city of 76,000), or three hours to Portland. So not a big deal, plus you get to live in Oregon.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (2)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283322)

AH Bend. What a mess they made out of that town. Good skiing , but population growth got a bit ahead of the city and county.
The town of 10,000 that was so neat is long gone. Californication at it's best.

A Eugene resident (native)

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284332)

You got that right.

(Native Oregonian who has lived in Bend before it got crazy.)

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36284908)

good luck at finding most of those in Prineville.

Yeah dude, thaaaaaaat's the point. Jobs created. Get it?

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283106)

Yes bringing 100 people into an existing population of 10,000 will create at least 500 er 50 er 5 er a couple of jobs er shifts.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36284798)

Not likely to happen. The 50 or so engineers and techs (yes, that's a random guess, but I can't picture there being much more in an automated, modern datacenter) are not enough people to have people willing to open up costly businesses. Not to mention, being an electrical engineer myself, our mindset works differently than your average person. I know personally, it makes more sense to live somewhere 30-45 minutes away with all of these things already in place. 10 30-45 minute drives a week is much better than having to do it to get to any store, dining establishment, bank, or hospital, which I go to about 15-20 a week, at different times.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285384)

well a lights out DC which is what these are don't have that many employees - I did the sums and reckoned a Google one could probably have only 20 or so Full time employees plus some local minimum wage security guards.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282812)

The businesses are rarely concerned with giving jobs to the natives. They're far more concerned with talking employees into lower wages due to the lower cost of living and finding an area far enough away from peer-level jobs to make it hard for employees to leave once hired. (See Bentonville, Arkansas as an example).

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

luke923 (778953) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283050)

That's not an issue in Bentonville, since it's about three hours from Kansas City and about half that to Tulsa -- not to mention nearby Fayetteville, which is about fifteen minutes. Granted, there's not much that's not related to Wal-Mart in Bentonville, but it's not that hard to go outside it.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283698)

That's OK, they are too busy changing tires.

Re:The natives probably won't be getting the jobs. (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284698)

As someone living in the area, I can report that you're pretty much on the ball. The Prineville FB data center employs 35 people, but the tech jobs were all filled out of area. The lower grade jobs were filled locally. The days of tech staff on site seem to be gone. When I was operations manager at one of the largest DC's in Europe, most had a large staff of Networking, Unix, Windows, database and operations experts on site 24x7x365. Nowadays, most of the work is done remotely. The impact on local employment tends to come more from the building and ongoing maintenance of the facilities, rather than the hiring of locals as techs. Prineville (and the whole central Oregon area) really doesn't have any sort of tech base anyway.

Tiny Town? (2, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282366)

You mean this Tiny Town? []

Re:Tiny Town? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282412)

There is no good reason for white people to pay reparations for slavery. We already have paid. We have been paying reparations for a long time and continue to pay today: it's called WELFARE.

Also who the hell keeps knocking up these grotesquely fat women? Blacks. You look at a 400pound fat sow white woman and then notice her little tricycle motor is half-black. Do black men have a fat fetish or something? I mean I get why they don't prefer black women. Black women act like they grew up in a military academy and seem completely determined to never be pleasant or well-mannered or easygoing about anything. But can't black men have some taste and target the white women who aren't trying to get diabetes?

Re:Tiny Town? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282962)

How about this one: []

Re:Tiny Town? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283758)

I was just at that one today and I didn't see any tiny data centers. What does one use for a Tiny Town data center, anyway? I suppose on an array of those usb stick computers.

Re:Tiny Town? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284972)

I would give you a +5 funny, but I lost my humor in the Bush years and slashdot has been very stingy with mod points.

Michigan needs your server farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282398)

Michigan is cold, and we could use a server farm or two.

Re:Michigan needs your server farm (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282506)

Sorry, buddy, for Michigan's conditions only the relocation of the NYSE would help.

Re:Michigan needs your server farm (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283782)

The people from Detroit would come and steal all the copper leading into the place...

I've been there (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282422)

Interesting place. It's at the confluence of two rather steep rivers. I imagine there's a decent amount of hydroelectric available. Very much a small town. There was an attendant at the gas station. I remember seeing lots of well-maintained public infrastructure. The whole place had sort of a creepy Stepford Wives feel. 17% unemployment makes me wonder what the deal is.

Re:I've been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282462)

17% unemployment makes me wonder what the deal is.


Re:I've been there (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282724)

Lumber industry is not too good right now.

Re:I've been there (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282466)

17% is probably just accurate reporting of the unemployment rate, unlike how the federal government under-reports by about half using tricks like not counting people who are no longer looking for work. When you hear unemployment numbers from the government, a good rule of thumb is to double it to get the actual percentage of the workforce that wants to work but can't find a job.

Re:I've been there (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282884)

You're basically correct, but to be fair, reporting (or "under-reporting") is often a complex topic. That said, the operative term is Discouraged Worker [] .

Re:I've been there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283228)

If you've given up on even looking for a job that may be a tell on why you couldn't find one. I thought you generally couldn't claim unemployment if you were not longer looking for a job. Starving would be my motivation for continuing to look. Why should you count people who have nothing to do all day but can't find it in them to continue looking for work?

Re:I've been there (2)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282498)

That's not just Prineville. All gas in Oregon must be pumped by an attendant. It's illegal to do it yourself.

Re:I've been there (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282898)

Just out of interest, why? The law sounds a bit strange, probably an old law based on some safety measure of the time?

Re:I've been there (2)

Osty (16825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283008)

Just out of interest, why? The law sounds a bit strange, probably an old law based on some safety measure of the time?

It's a political job-making law. Everybody needs gas. If you can't pump your own gas, jobs must be created to hire someone to pump it for you. If you want to run a 24/7 gas station, that means you have to hire several gas pumpers to cover all shifts, have multiple pumpers on hand during heavy usage hours. Each gas station could probably generate 5-6 extra jobs, which could mean thousands of jobs across the state.

Of course it's just make-work. No value is added by paying someone to pump your gas. It just costs the consumer more money and time than they would've spent otherwise.

Let's position that a bit differently. (3, Interesting)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283868)

Yes, it is a job making law. No question.

As for no value added, do you live in Oregon? It rains A LOT. And when it's like 45 and soupy rain, getting colder, it's absolutely great to pull up, stuff a 20 out the window, and get your gas pumped, easy cheezy.

I know my regular gas guy. We have a running conversation over the years, kids, family, politics, you name it. There is a lot of value there too.

As for prices? It's a few pennies most of the time, and sometimes it's less here than it is in Washington.

There, it's all pre-pay, barren stations, often dirty, crime laden, with some dude in what I can only characterize as the smallest possible workspace, barking at you through some shitty PA.

Of course, one can go to the nicer stations, where they figure out new and interesting ways to get you inside to buy stuff...

So the value is debatable, clearly. No question. But, let's be clear. It's not a significant price difference. I've lived here a long time, and the cost of gas relative to the "do it yourself" states has never been significant enough to warrant giving up the option of just staying in the car on a shitty day.

Re:Let's position that a bit differently. (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284712)

"As for no value added, do you live in Oregon? It rains A LOT." I live in Oregon. I actually live about 15 miles from Prineville. There's a reason it's called the "high desert". I think you're confusing us with the valley.

Re:I've been there (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284382)

Gas isn't any more expensive in Portland than it is across the Columbia River in Vancouver. I can't see that it costs us any more than pump your own, at least the difference isn't enough for me to worry about.

The issue was on a ballot measure a while back and the voters of the state soundly rejected allowing pump-your-own gas. (1982 - Measure 4 - the yes votes were only 42.5% of the ballots cast.)

Re:I've been there (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283042)

NJ does it too. When I was 17, I got a gas pump handle yanked out of my car and hand because I accidentally tried to pump it myself.

Whatever the reason, it must be grave. NJ/OR gasoline must be ten times as volatile or the pumps must run on static electricity. It seemed to be a capital offense.

In the end, I think it was a safety issue. Old gas pumps didn't stop at the top of the tank. Even modern ones don't. I was recently on vacation in Florida and dumped a good 5 gallons because the station had left its pump handles on for 3 years past the expiration date.

Re:I've been there (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284912)

They have expiration dates for pump handles?

Sure, I guess stuff has to be inspected, but that's to verify it's still working, not that it'll stop even working in exactly 365 days.

Re:I've been there (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282964)

If you have a vintage car, motorcycle or an exotic you can pump the fuel yourself, you won't be fined nor will the gas station.

The law is that there can be no self service gas station, there always has to be an attendant.

Its the same in New Jersey.

Re:I've been there (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285082)

How do they afford it? My local petrol station in a surburban area has eight pumps and one employee working at any time. There's no way they could afford eight workers to stand there all day.

Or imagine that a few cars turn up during a quiet period when there's only one attendent, you'd be waiting for ages.

As far as job-creation schemes go it's pretty dumb. May as well pay people to dig holes and fill them in again.

Re:I've been there (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282706)

What two steep rivers? The Crooked River and Ochoco Creek? There's not enough water between the two of them to power the data center. Most of the hydro-power in the northwest comes from the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Prineville is a redneck place. I should know, I have cousins that grew up in the vicinity. The lumber mill shutting down and Les Schwab Tires moving their headquarters from Prineville to Bend doesn't help the unemployment situation. It's mainly a ranching and lumbering area that's off the main highway systems. Prineville is also the county seat of Crook County which helps make it larger than it would otherwise be.

Re:I've been there (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282824) [] []

Yeah I suppose it's not much, but it is undeveloped at the moment. And the hydro would just be used for peaking anyways.

Re:I've been there (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284192)

Hmm, interesting. It wouldn't hurt to put in hydro-power at Bowman Dam. Every little bit helps. But it's only 6 megawatts. According the the Central Oregonian article Crook County currently uses about 40 megawatts not counting the Facebook center. The new power line they're planning to run from the Powell Butte Ponderosa substation would up the capacity going into Crook County to 120 megawatts.

I doubt the power from the Bowman Dam would be used for peaking. The water output has to be held pretty steady on that river so all they can do is turn the generators on or off, not the water. There are other dams around that can be used for peaking power. The one I'm most familiar with in that regard is Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. When I whitewater boat that river in the summer the water level often changes over 3 feet up and down over a 24 hour period. Crooked River is small enough you can wade across it in places in the summer both above and below the reservoir.

Re:I've been there (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282776)

No hydro locally. There is a hydro project down stream where the Crooked, Deschutes and Metolious river join. Water around Prineville is for irrigation.
Even the small dam upstream might have problems. It was built using a method that is now considered suspect.
Electric power in the region come from the Columbia via BPA (Bonneville Power Administration).

Let's see here... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282452)

A small town that hosts server farms for Facebook.

They should rename it "Farmville."

17% of 10'000? (0)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282512)

You'd think that a town of 10'000 would have 10'000 things to do. What the hell? Did a town of 10'000 persons choose to outsource everything? It's not easy to grow food for 10'000. You'd think a movie theatre, a lemonade stand, a hotdog stand, and a community ball-park would be able to employ just about everyone.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282566)

Well, as it turns out, every year we are able to do a whole lot of things more efficiently with fewer workers which means more people are competing for the remaining jobs.

Of course, as a society we are also counteracting this in various ways but we're still unlikely to ever return to the "golden days" of the years between just after WW2 up to somewhere around the early to mid-70s when a single person could support an entire family's middle-class lifestyle and jobs were not just plentiful but as my dad put it "If we didn't like the job we'd just quit and get a job at the place down the street the next day" (When I was fresh out of college and looking for work he couldn't comprehend how it could be hard for someone with a college education to find a job, when he was that age there were plenty of jobs available, many of these with clear career paths).

Re:17% of 10'000? (0)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282784)

have you guys thought about building a street? Growing, expanding, exporting something, specializing in something that outsiders would contract from you? It just kills me to think that a small town would have such a huge problem.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282930)

Goldendale has an industrial park, It's occupied by the vacant France snowboard factory and a mint oil blending facility.
That is it, nothing else in over 10 years. Since the aluminum smelter shutdown, It's slowly turning into a ghost town.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282796)

People don't stay. Those that can often leave. It may not be as pretty but you can find a job in Portland a
lot easier.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282942)

sotp looking for a job! start a business. think of all of the employees available to you.

Re:17% of 10'000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283538)

sotp looking for a job! start a business. think of all of the employees available to you.

And sell to ... whom, exactly? The other unemployed? The businesses that are already in the area and quite satisfied with their current suppliers?

Or perhaps that was the point. Do I hear a whooshing sound overhead, indicative of a failure to catch intended irony? If not, you should rethinking that "ownership" line you're trying to sell.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283592)

the same thing every business does. Do you think that I sell to my neighbours? I'm in a city of over 7 million persons, and I sell to suburbs and surrounding cities more than I do to any of the 7 million.

You seem to think that there's just nothing that you can do on your own. That you need someone else to take the risks. More importantly, you seem to think that those risks don't translate right down the line to every employee. Only difference is that the employee doesn't have any control over that risk -- but they are still governed by it.

Yes, I think your other local businesses would prefer to have local suppliers within strangling range than not. Yes I think you can compete with others. Plain and simple. Yes I think there are services and products that you can offer to your community. Yes I think there are many of them.

Damn it, so many. You could start with an import business. It's not easy to import goods from foreign countries. If you're in a small town, odds are that you purchase such things from other companies who themselves do the importing, and, obviously, charge for their services. All those companies do is pay taxes and arrange transportation, and the occasional safety regulations. It's work, but it's no mystery. You can do it for ten cents less. The only reason for your neighbours not to use you is because they hate you. Otherwise, as long as you get the stuff to them, and you charge them less, they've nothing to lose.

But you don't need me to tell you what your community may or may not need. I'd presume that you can look at 10'000 persons and determine what would benefit them, or how you could improve their situation.

If you can't, then you deserve to have someone else telly ou what to do, every day of your life. And if you can't find someone who wants to boss you around, then you must not be worth the effort.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284418)

The total population in Crook County is under 20,000. The adjacent Deschutes County is around 115,000. Prineville is kind of off the beaten path for transportation and I certainly wouldn't think about starting an import business there.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284464)

one of the challenges that every business industry goes through is figuring out how to serve a market that the established competitors can't seem to serve. One of Amazon's big problems was, and still is, where to place warehouses to ease shipping to anywhere. In my area of Canada, they actually use warehouses and shipping owned by other businesses -- as in a local cooking store can offer to store and ship amazon orders on their behalf. (I'm making up the cooking store part for this conversation).

one of the big challenges for large import companies is figuring out how to serve the so many small markets that aren't in large cities. If you were to take the time to build a model that would allow you to serve small communities, you'd be able to grow your business in a way that only a new and agile company can -- in a way that existing large import companies can't.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284688)

I'm not really disagreeing with you but Prineville really is kind of off the beaten path. The closest town of any size to the east of it is John Day, Oregon with a population of around 1,800. It's 116 miles away over a winding mountain road that can be tough in the winter. There's not much but mountains and desert to the north and south of it. There's not that much distribution opportunity from Prineville that isn't better from Bend, Redmond or Madras along US 97 to the west. Of course distributing electronic bits doesn't suffer from the transportation issues that physical goods do so Facebook can take advantage of the cheap land and electricity.

Re:17% of 10'000? (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284802)

I have a business here. I need to employ a couple of decent network and server techs. Nothing fancy. Just need to know some basic networking stuff and how to maintain a mail server, read logs, do basic troubleshooting, etc. After a month of looking, forget about it. The few people in the area with those skills are snapped up. The reason you can't pump your own gas here is pretty obvious; most of the population here can't do anything more complicated. I have friends who operated stores that they had to close down because they couldn't get trustworthy staff.

So... (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282544)

Do all packets have to be routed through it five times a day?

Send heat to local buildings (5, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282550)

While the cool air may be better for cooling the data enters, surely it would make even better sense to pipe that excess heat to local buildings. On the one hand the datacenter would be saving on heating costs and on the other hand the local buildings would save on heating costs.

The problem we have today is all too often buildings are seen as individual entities, instead of something that needs to fit into the local environment.

Re:Send heat to local buildings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283006)

The Facebook facility is up on the wall of a caldera. Prineville's downtown is down below at the base. The losses in moving the heat would make it uneconomic, as volcanic rock is no fun to dig through.

Re:Send heat to local buildings (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284428)

Well I wouldn't call it a caldera but AC is right. The datacenter is on top of the rimrock maybe 700 feet above the town and digging a pipeline through the basalt for the heat would be quite expensive and require dynamite.

Re:Send heat to local buildings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283608)

The problem is that the "local buildings" aren't local, they're miles of pipe away. Heat systems only work next to an industrial facility or in extremely dense cities like New York.

Old people (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282558)

why don't they build these things under old age peoples' homes in cold towns?

Re:Old people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283220)

why don't they build these things under old age peoples' homes in cold towns?

Le'me guess: aged people don't know how to route the IP packets and have no experience in tending the FarmVille?

River of the Gods... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282734)

Finally read it...dated already...but the call center hives are exactly what I thought of when I saw the headline.

I wonder why they have all that fresh air? (2)

OhioJoe (178138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282782)

Town better start writing some zoning regulation laws. The very thing the fresh air is attracting will attract more things which will attract more things which will take the fresh air away. That's not even considering the potential of the then thriving server farm industry driven economy tanking if those server farms pull out to go to fresher air, causing a cascading effect of failing businesses and massive job losses..... But then again I'm one of those "worst case scenario" kind of persons.

Re:I wonder why they have all that fresh air? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283262)

But then again I'm one of those "worst case scenario" kind of persons.

LOL... I can infer a case of not enough "stupid movies weekends"
What about "thermal plumes causing mesosphere to fall in chunks" and category 7 [] storms?

Re:I wonder why they have all that fresh air? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284442)

I laughed at your comment. Oregon already has pretty strict zoning regulations but Prineville is far enough off the beaten path that they have difficulty attracting business. Facebook was attracted by the cheap land and electricity rates. Before they developed that industrial park up on the rimrock it was just sage brush and juniper scrub.

Re:I wonder why they have all that fresh air? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284996)

Not to worry, The server farms supply little but tax revenues, The locals won't notice and the elected officials will move on to their next mark.

Prosperity, here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282804)

It's good for a town to be dependent on a single, super-rich employer.

Re:Prosperity, here we come... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283202)

Just wait until they start paying in Zanga cash...

Re:Prosperity, here we come... (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283394)

You mean like Beaverton? (Intel)
Lots of towns in Oregon like that (a dying breed).
Most were dependent on a sawmill (sometimes a very large sawmill). Timber goes, town goes.
Sometimes there is a small town left, and sometimes they remove everything (Valsetz for instance).
Some were even company towns (the lumber company owned everything) Gilchrist OR. for instance.
Even Bend was a mill town, but it had a little more going for it (skiing, county seat) and didn't die out.

Re:Prosperity, here we come... (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285016)

Had to throw in Kinzua, another dead, bulldozed company town, I grew up their hunting deer with my family right up from the golf course, Yes A Golf Course. Watch out for the cow pies. Had a log cabin bar and a general store right out of a "fill in the blank" book. It's a shame it's gone.

Re:Prosperity, here we come... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284446)

Until Les Schwab died Prineville was the headquarters of Les Schwab tires. They still have a distribution warehouse there. That's the big employer in Prineville.

Will this actually help the town? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282902)

But what's it actually going to do for the town? 17% un-employment is fairly high, but these datacentres don't require many staff to run and operate, and the staff require very specific skillsets.

I don't really think it's going to help the town that much in terms of their local economies.

Prineville is like Mayberry but more so... (1)

marcle (1575627) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282952)

Back in the 70's, I lived in Bend, Oregon. I played in a country band (there wasn't hardly any other kind there), and we had a (very) funky gig in Prineville, highlighted by a scene I remember vividly still. An extremely large individual, dressed in flannel and overalls and looking and smelling thoroughly unwashed, came up to the stage and said, "Y'all know Home on the Range?" We tried to explain politely that it wasn't in our set list. After a little back and forth on the subject, he said, "Y'all play Home on the Range or I'm gonna come up there and mix it up a little." After a brief on-stage discussion we decided that the key of C was our best bet, and proceeded. That's gonna be some serious culture shock to a tiny rural bump on the map like that.

Re:Prineville is like Mayberry but more so... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284456)

Sounds exactly like the Prineville I know. Back in the late 1960's a long haired hippie type came to town and was given a haircut (against his will) by the locals. My cousin was one of them.

Am I right? (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283098)

After the data center is built it might generate around 5-10 jobs or so. Not that much work to make any change in the areas unemployment rate, but still great for anybody who manages to land a job after who knows how long.

Data center Mecca? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283140)

Haha, very funny, that would mean people would go endlessly around some big black box server all the day chanting prayers and hoping to get a deeper understanding of things... haha...

Hey! Waiddaminute... this is what the techies do all day around our M$ Win server!

Tiny? (1)

BurfCurse (937117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283318)

A town of 10,000 people is not tiny.

The Terror of Tiny Town (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283414)

Facebook May Make Tiny Town a Data Center Mecca>/b>

The Terror of Tiny Town

See the movie first

It's all about the Pipe Access (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283588)

Wherever a rural area houses the big pipes running through it, a Data Center will likely pop up. Especially when Hydroelectric power, Wind and Solar are prevalent.

Re:It's all about the Pipe Access (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284722)

60% of the energy for the FB data center is from coal fired sources. Very little of the electricity in central Oregon is from "green" sources. If anything, geo-thermal energy is what they should be looking at here. The area is still very active.

Re:It's all about the Pipe Access (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285046)

Where did you get that bullshit? Citations?
What? From all national datacenters?
BTW, I live here.

Prineville (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283678)

Prineville likes this.

Use thermal energy for something useful, Helsinki (2)

Sami Lehtinen (1864458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283706)

That's what is done in Helsinki. Actually data processing can be very economical and green. If the waste heat generated from process will be used for something useful.
As it's being done here: []
It's just logical to use waste heat from any other sources (like industry processes) is being re-used in similar way.

What is this "Facebook" you speak of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283886)

I am intrigued by this book of faces. Is it some new fangled phone directory?

It only makes sense. (2)

JeremyMorgan (1428075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284296)

These types of places make a lot of sense. Google also has a datacenter in The Dalles, Oregon. This is because of great access to electricity, bandwidth and local labor. Not to mention these towns often welcome these companies with open arms by giving them tax breaks and allowing them to build with minimal interference. Not to mention cheap land prices. If they tried to build this same facility in Hillsboro, Oregon (where the majority of Intel campuses are located as well as other tech companies) they would be paying a much higher price for land, fighting for electricity and bandwidth, and battling the local government every step of the way. This move should surprise nobody.

Re:It only makes sense. (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285484)

You know there's a problem when the big names in the business target minor towns to take advantage of their resources.

Of course these small places make sense to a crowded market

This move doesn't surprise anybody.

Not going to help jobs much (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284720)

First any engineer they try to hire may just balk at having to live in such a small town. There are far bigger metro areas with good rates for electricity in the intermountain west that can provide 80% air cooling a year. Colorado Springs comes to mind where Walmart is considering building a Datacenter, and Verizon Wireless, Fedex, HP, and a few others already have facilities there as well, the cost of living is much cheaper compared to silicon valley or New York. I sure hope for their sake this small town is not far from Portland. Takes a special person to want to work in a town that small.

FWIW, data centers employ less than 100 people in most cases once it's built out, with small increases per 10000 sqft think 1-2 more people to cover the added workload. Considering the company involved, they will probably have a skeleton crew of facilities folks and a few engineers to handle the "Hands On" work. The rest will be taken care of remotely.

And in most cases these people just got sold out to facebook in the form of massive Tax breaks for facebook, that will not reduce the tax burden of the people who lived there. I think Colorado Springs is throwing millions in tax incentives to Walmart just to attract the business, not sure how a town of 10,000 could afford such large tax breaks, so hopefully it works out for them.

Re:Not going to help jobs much (1)

cluedweasel (832743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284838)

Prineville is about 3.5 hours from Portland in the summer. In the winter, it can be a lot longer. You need to cross the Cascade range. Central Oregon can be very, very isolated. We have one small airport in Redmond. Add at least $100 onto what you would pay for an airfare anywhere else. The largest town is Bend which has a population of around 80,000. Bend falls into the "nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there" category.

One word. (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285414)


Great news for little towns... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285574)

Replace the car industry with the IT industry with these data centers and we are talking awesomeness!
It is amazing for these people to now be able to draw some more economic help from the big companies!

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