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Apple may double North Carolina data center to 1M square feet

post #1 of 116
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While the exact purpose of Apple's 500,000-square-foot data center in North Carolina remains unknown, a new rumor says the company is already considering expanding the server space to a million square feet.

Citing anonymous sources at Apple, John Paczkowski of Digital Daily reported Friday that Apple is currently eyeing a major expansion to its server farm in Maiden, N.C. The report stressed that Apple is currently considering the expansion, suggesting it may not come to fruition.

Apple first announced the location of its secretive massive data center in July 2009. The company has has hired staff for the $1 billion facility, but its exact purpose remains unknown.

Paczkowski speculated that the massive server farm could be a central component of Apple's business strategy going forward, as evidenced by the release of the new MacBook Airs on Wednesday. Chief Executive Steve Jobs indicated the new notebooks are the "future" of the entire MacBook line, as the new lightweight MacBook Air models sport only flash memory inside, with no spinning hard drives.

On the low end, the entry-level 11.6-inch model has just 64GB of internal flash memory for $999. If Apple's data center were to offer cloud-based iTunes, or expand MobileMe's iDisk or Gallery services, the report speculated, "even the 64GB Air might seem like an attractive option to the high-end user."

"Saving to disk is slowly becoming a fixture of the past and, as Apple's recently rejiggered Apple TV business model demonstrates, streaming is the future," the report said. "Which makes perfect sense, when you think of the MacBook Air as the future of the notebook."

Even if doubling the size of the server farm also doubles its $1 billion total cost, it would be an easy investment for Apple, which recently revealed it has $51 billion in cash and investments. This week, Jobs said his company plans to use its war chest for big moves, including major acquisitions, but not "stupid" ones.
post #2 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While the exact purpose of Apple's 500,000-square-foot data center in North Carolina remains unknown, a new rumor says the company is already considering expanding the server space to a million square feet.

Citing anonymous sources at Apple, John Paczkowski of

My guess: App stores.
post #3 of 116
At least this thing is in the US and not outsourced to another country.
post #4 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by appl View Post

My guess: App stores.

It would take a lot of apps to require such a huge data farm...

This will be for cloud storage.
post #5 of 116
Holy Cow Batman!
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post #6 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by appl View Post

My guess: App stores.

Yep, for all those shelves they'll need for the boxes. Just kidding ... I know you mean servers.
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post #7 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

At least this thing is in the US and not outsourced to another country.

It would be really nice if some part of Apple's manufacturing were to come back to the US wouldn't it.
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post #8 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It would be really nice if some part of Apple's manufacturing were to come back to the US wouldn't it.

yes, it would give us nice warm fuzzies... until we see the price of Apple products quadruple.
post #9 of 116
It would be nice if Apple offered a Mozy Carbonite type service.
post #10 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It would be really nice if some part of Apple's manufacturing were to come back to the US wouldn't it.

this may happen IF/WHEN the manufacturing can be done start to finish via robotics. there's no way apple is going to pay Joe the high school dropout his $30/hour union wage to do the same thing a Chinese worker will do for $30/week. at that point, Apple would be laying of 40,000 overseas to hire 40 in the states.
post #11 of 116
lets call it what it is.
APPLE TELECOMM.
post #12 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

yes, it would give us nice warm fuzzies... until we see the price of Apple products quadruple.

It might not be as bad as you think with SJ and his team designing the production facility from the ground up. Apple always learn as they go and they must have learned a lot about fabrication and production these last few years. Sadly all they have done thus far is teach the Chinese manufacturers these new techniques. I see no reason why certain production lines could not be almost totally automated and run here in the US. I am not saying this employs as many people but it certainly would result in many jobs that wouldn't exist otherwise. Anyway here's hoping!
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post #13 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It would be really nice if some part of Apple's manufacturing were to come back to the US wouldn't it.

They could start digging for their own rare earths, since china seems to hold them back.
post #14 of 116
Apple should start planning one in East Texas and then can it based on the legal extortion that goes on there.

$600,000,000 for a fistful of nothing.
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post #15 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

lets call it what it is.
APPLE TELECOMM.

Apple Total Telecommunications. ATT ?
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post #16 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

lets call it what it is.
APPLE TELECOMM.

haha. they are building a data center on the east coast... not setting up cell towers around the world.

way to think big though... I suppose they could just buy AT&T
post #17 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Apple should start planning one in East Texas and then can it based on the legal extortion that goes on there.

$600,000,000 for a fistful of nothing.

They should at least by a court house and judge there
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post #18 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

haha. they are building a data center on the east coast... not setting up cell towers around the world.

way to think big though... I suppose they could just buy AT&T

Apple think outside the box, it will be run using the Moon as a base
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post #19 of 116
I think it's quite obvious it's for the Mac App Store.
post #20 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

At least this thing is in the US and not outsourced to another country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips

It would be really nice if some part of Apple's manufacturing were to come back to the US wouldn't it.

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post #21 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Apple always learn as they go and they must have learned a lot about fabrication and production these last few years.

Yeah, and they have learned that outsourcing it all to China is a much more effective use of resources.


Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

it certainly would result in many jobs that wouldn't exist otherwise.

It already does.


You ought to read the book "The Choice", it might be rather enlightening.

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post #22 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

I think it's quite obvious it's for the Mac App Store.

why would they need something like this for the Mac, and not for the iPhone and iPad?

Its for some streaming service. buy Akamei Apple.
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post #23 of 116
It's almost certainly for all of Apple's cloud-based services: App stores, iTunes Store (books, music, video, etc.), streaming media (both announced and not yet announced), Mobile Me and probably more.

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post #24 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Apple think outside the box, it will be run using the Moon as a base

In that case… It’s to store our consciousness digitally. MobileMe should have told you that was their plan.

The problem will be you’ll have no physical body to pay for this service that you’ll be forced to interact with iAds to earn money to maintain your value in the Apple Core so you’ll essentially be doing virtual ad clicking for an eternity as an indentured servant.

There will be no way out. There will no end. This is the Virginia Company all over again with the California Company. If you stop you stop existing. Of course, those with means can pay ahead of time thus bringing in a new era, but the billions of impoverished people in the world that can’t afford food, much less an Apple product, will be willing candidates as a chance for a chance at survival.


PS: In all seriousness, I expect in my lifetime they will map the human brain to a point that some snake oil salesman will market this technology as a way of preserving you indefinitely until such time as they create the tech to bring you back to life. The same bullshit as Cryogenics without all the expense.
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post #25 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

exact purpose of Apple's 500,000-square-foot data center in North Carolina

= 999999 * (iAd support) + 0.99 * (FaceTime support) + 0.01 * (cloud services support)

P.S. All big guys all around the world are in the ad business now, not only GOOG and AAPL.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #26 of 116
When Apple launched the iPad, they were short on supply, when they launched the iPhone 4 they were short on supply, and both times some insisted Apple was doing this on purpose. I don't think so, and if this is true, when they start whatever service this might be - at least they want to make sure not to be short on supply again. So: good move!
post #27 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It might not be as bad as you think with SJ and his team designing the production facility from the ground up.

I work with some of the best automation engineers around and the sad reality is automation seldom makes up for low wages. Worst yet some of those Asian factories are very automated themselves so it still comes back to a wage issue.

Apple had some nice movies detailing unibody manufacture that highlighted highly automated production. The fact remains that the low wages affect everything in Asia so even those highly automated factories are cheaper.
Quote:
Apple always learn as they go and they must have learned a lot about fabrication and production these last few years. Sadly all they have done thus far is teach the Chinese manufacturers these new techniques.

Are you really sure about who is teaching whom here?
Quote:
I see no reason why certain production lines could not be almost totally automated and run here in the US.

Because it doesn't matter, automated or not, it is very expensive to run manufacturing in the US. The taxes alone kill you and right now you have a leadership team innWashington intent on increasing taxes even more. For no good reason I might add. High wages are often stated as an issue but frankly that is only part of the problem and generally only a problem if you have unions involved protecting unproductive workers.
Quote:
I am not saying this employs as many people but it certainly would result in many jobs that wouldn't exist otherwise. Anyway here's hoping!

You can wish all you want but the numbers just don't work out for consummer goods. There is an old saying in business that a company makes its money not buy what it sells an item for but rather what it can buy it for. Thus Apple is profitable right now because it can buy its products at prices that are better than anyone else is getting. This appears to be very much the case with the iOS devices. It is nothing for Apple to put up $500 million for parts that sort of cash makes for very very very good pricing. It also makes you wonder about flash pricing on iPad and iPhone. Apple has to be litterally raking in the dough as the are likely paying the lowest price per bit in the industry and charging the most.


Dave
post #28 of 116
How many Mac mini servers can you get in 1 million square feet of space?
post #29 of 116
It makes more sense to grow Apple's cloud capability with facilities in other geographical locations. I would be uncomfortable with too much concentration in a single spot. Why? The threat of terrorism and the consequences of destruction to one huge data nexus. Redundancy is security.

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post #30 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

There is an old saying in business that a company makes its money not buy what it sells an item for but rather what it can buy it for. Thus Apple is profitable right now because it can buy its products at prices that are better than anyone else is getting. This appears to be very much the case with the iOS devices. It is nothing for Apple to put up $500 million for parts that sort of cash makes for very very very good pricing. It also makes you wonder about flash pricing on iPad and iPhone. Apple has to be litterally raking in the dough as the are likely paying the lowest price per bit in the industry and charging the most.

And it's not just flash.

As one other example...they introduce a new iPhone with something like the "retina display"...likely an expensive part. That's ok, they're going to sell 20M-50M iPhones a year, so they get a deal. But then they also know that they're going put that same display in another product (iPod touch) which they're going to sell another 20M-50M of a year. So they get an even better deal.

Aluminum? Glass? LCDs? A4 chips? Accelerometers? Gyroscopes? Touch screens?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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post #31 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

At least this thing is in the US and not outsourced to another country.

Having it in the US is a natural for a company that originated in the USA, but there would be a competitive *dis* advantage going forward, if they *only* chose to locate such facilities in the US.

Many countries forbid any government or institutional (educational) uses for software or services that go through US servers as there is a common perception that it's a security risk. There have been many reports of US Internet traffic being secretly recorded and analysed and almost no information about the practice being stopped or to what extent it's done.

So in Canada for instance, this means that no MobileMe services (as well as some from other companies), can be used in an educational or government setting or for educational/governmental purposes because you are in effect storing private information on a foreign server with no guarantee as to it's security even though you, (as the individual storing it) are directly responsible for it's security. This isn't just some small statute either, it's a violation of the privacy guarantees of our constitution. I'm sure a lot of European countries have similar laws. Most modern information privacy laws are based on the same idea.

Eventually, for any Apple web service to grow beyond the individual consumer, the servers have to be located in other countries or the US law has to change, or the laws of the other countries have to change. Since it's typically a constitutional issue, or an issue with basic human rights to privacy, the laws in the other countries are very unlikely to change.
post #32 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

... it is very expensive to run manufacturing in the US. The taxes alone kill you and right now you have a leadership team innWashington intent on increasing taxes even more. For no good reason I might add. ...

Your argument about manufacturing is spot on but please leave out the offensive political slant.

The current US government last year gave the biggest tax breaks for individuals and small businesses since the 30's. They are lowering taxes across the board and stimulating the economy. The truth is almost the exact opposite of what you're claiming to be true.
post #33 of 116
We in the east are awaiting Apple's entry!
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post #34 of 116
What I find interesting is the clients no longer use harddrives, what does the data center use?

Flash memory? Haha no way.
post #35 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

yes, it would give us nice warm fuzzies... until we see the price of Apple products quadruple.

Why would they quadruple? Labor is a small cost component. Where do you get the 4x estimate?
post #36 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Your argument about manufacturing is spot on but please leave out the offensive political slant.

The current US government last year gave the biggest tax breaks for individuals and small businesses since the 30's. They are lowering taxes across the board and stimulating the economy.

Don't lie. That's offensive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The truth is almost the exact opposite of what you're claiming to be true.

Back at ya.

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post #37 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

How many Mac mini servers can you get in 1 million square feet of space?

Not enough to do much of anything serious.
post #38 of 116
I understand the point of "even if it doubled the $1 B cost" but of course it would not come close to that. The original cost included land and infrastructure build up that would not be necessary. And that is very expensive.
post #39 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


PS: In all seriousness, I expect in my lifetime they will map the human brain to a point that some snake oil salesman will market this technology as a way of preserving you indefinitely until such time as they create the tech to bring you back to life. The same bullshit as Cryogenics without all the expense.

Monsanto will own the patent for our brains by then.

Seriously ... You have to read Richard K Morgan's trilogy on this subject.
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post #40 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I work with some of the best automation engineers around and the sad reality is automation seldom makes up for low wages. Worst yet some of those Asian factories are very automated themselves so it still comes back to a wage issue.

Apple had some nice movies detailing unibody manufacture that highlighted highly automated production. The fact remains that the low wages affect everything in Asia so even those highly automated factories are cheaper.

Are you really sure about who is teaching whom here?

Because it doesn't matter, automated or not, it is very expensive to run manufacturing in the US. The taxes alone kill you and right now you have a leadership team innWashington intent on increasing taxes even more. For no good reason I might add. High wages are often stated as an issue but frankly that is only part of the problem and generally only a problem if you have unions involved protecting unproductive workers.


You can wish all you want but the numbers just don't work out for consummer goods. There is an old saying in business that a company makes its money not buy what it sells an item for but rather what it can buy it for. Thus Apple is profitable right now because it can buy its products at prices that are better than anyone else is getting. This appears to be very much the case with the iOS devices. It is nothing for Apple to put up $500 million for parts that sort of cash makes for very very very good pricing. It also makes you wonder about flash pricing on iPad and iPhone. Apple has to be litterally raking in the dough as the are likely paying the lowest price per bit in the industry and charging the most.


Dave

Ok, I accept your expertise on the subject. It's kind of sad though.
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