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Facebook officially opens Forest City Data Center

Forest City, NC — With one press of a “Like” button, the Facebook Data Center, located on U.S. 74A and Old Caroleen Road, was officially open for business.

On Thursday, state and local dignitaries along with members of the community gathered at the Data Center location to officially open the location, which Facebook officials said is now servicing customers.

“We are actually receiving traffic in Forest City,” said Tom Furlong, Facebook vice president of data operations.

With over 845 million users of Facebook, the Data Center in Forest City is now handling traffic for the East Coast, Furlong said.

“It’s a constantly moving process because we are always getting new users,” Furlong said.

North Carolina Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dale Carroll said that the process of constructing the new center has been fast-moving since its groundbreaking.

“This is an organization that is world-class and really gets things going,” Carroll said in his address to the audience. “Facebook has been a model partner for us on the state level and in Forest City.”

Furlong said that there have been approximately 2,000 workers coming in and out of the facility during the construction phase of the first and second building.

He added that continuing plans for the facility are ever-changing.

“The beauty of having a site like this is that you can grow as fast as is necessary,” Furlong said. “The long pole in the tent is finding the site.”

The process for finishing the first and second buildings continue and, Furlong said, they will continue to expand.

“There is a constant cadence for operations,” Furlong said. “There’s always new hardware and the operations team keeps busy.”

The Forest City location is one of two Facebook data center sites in North America. The other is also still under construction in Prineville, Ore. Furlong said that the Oregon center is approximately 10 months ahead of the center in Forest City, as far as construction. The Oregon operation is slated to service data for the West Coast of the United States.

“As capacity goes, this is a lot of that capacity to go up at once,” Furlong said.

State Sen. Wes Westmoreland also addressed the crowd and said that the grand opening of the data center was not the only thing to be celebrated Thursday.

“What we really have to celebrate is the collaboration between Facebook and the community,” Westmoreland said.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry addressed the crowd via video from his office in Washington, D.C.

by Matthew Clark