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Apple may have planned to build second NC data center from day one

post #1 of 62
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Rumors continue to swirl over Apple's mysterious plans for its data center site in Maiden, North Carolina, with new evidence suggesting that the company may have intended to build from the get-go a second, identically-sized facility adjacent to the one that's already operational.

A new report from All Things Digital points to two images on the Catawba County, N.C., Flickr page showing two bird's eye renderings of Apple's site in Maiden -- one with a single facility and a another, labeled "Phase 2," showing a second, seemingly identical building.

Rumors that Apple was considering a second facility in Maiden picked up steam last week when when the same publication, citing anonymous sources, reported that the company was considering doubling its operations there to 500,000 square-feet. The North Carolina data center is already five times larger than the company's current data center in Newark, California.

However, the images discovered Monday are raising questions as to whether Apple's plans for the data center project, which is code-named Dolphin, called for two matching facilities all along. It's therefore similarly unclear whether any of the recent reports on Apple doubling the size of the project represent anything new.

One theory mentioned in the latest report is that the structure that Apple just finished completing this fall is only 250,000 square feet and that documentation that has long listed the initiative as a 500,000-square-foot project may have been contingent on the company building a second facility all along.



According to a Data Center Knowledge report published Sunday, the first finished facility is "fully operational," with the company expected to begin operations "any day now."
post #2 of 62
It's a giant RAID Level 1 array!
post #3 of 62
I'm not familiar with what goes into a data center. The building that Apple is building is huge. Is it possible there could be some other use? Is Google's data center as big or bigger?
post #4 of 62
The server farm keeps on growing... I am sure that Apple had plans for the second building all along.

They likely invested their resources to get the first one up and running, and now that it is finished will work on the second data center building. Sounds smarter than trying to build two building at once...
post #5 of 62
App Store and Mac App Store, I guess?
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post #6 of 62
I don't have much interest in this story... Certainly not as an Apple fan, marginally as a Apple investor, and marginally as a tech geek, although AI hasn't really delved into the technical aspects so get that elsewhere.

What seems the obvious question though is with all the "reporting"'on this data center over the last 6-12 months, how is it that no one confirmed the size of it? That no one asked if it was being built in phases? That no one did any journalism on it what so ever....

Tired of the self perpetuating rumor mill.
post #7 of 62
SkyNet!!!
post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw View Post

The server farm keeps on growing... I am sure that Apple had plans for the second building all along.

They likely invested their resources to get the first one up and running, and now that it is finished will work on the second data center building. Sounds smarter than trying to build two building at once...

That seems extremely likely.
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post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by New_Muadib View Post

SkyNet!!!

Or.......Jurassic Park! Imagine, the next big Apple event features Steve dressed up in an uncharacteristic white collared shirt and beach hat with a cane, opening with "It cost us 51 billion dollars, we spared no expense".

It would explain the secrecy AND the reason for 2 sites right near each other. No it wouldn't.

But in all seriousness, I need to figure out if this is going towards some dropbox-esque feature in Lion ASAP, so I don't blow $100 on a year of dropbox and find out there's a somewhat comparable mac-built service. I guess I could go month to month. But I find that low level of commitment frightening (along with sunlight and cheerful conversation).
post #10 of 62
One way to check would be to see whether the local planning board, which had to approve the layout of the overall project, approved one or both buildings -- either at the same time or as part of separate applications.
post #11 of 62
Hot swappable backup?

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post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw View Post

The server farm keeps on growing... I am sure that Apple had plans for the second building all along.

They likely invested their resources to get the first one up and running, and now that it is finished will work on the second data center building. Sounds smarter than trying to build two building at once...

I don't want to offend you any more than I am sure you don't want to offend me - so if you remove your religious reference in your signature we'll all be fine and dandy together in this Apple forum. Cheers
post #13 of 62
Not sure if Apple would put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. But Apple's growth forecasts may be indicating that the current layout is/will sooner than later be overwhelmed.

Although centrally state-located, the area is not impervious to hurricanes directly or indirectly. Certainly, the site is virtually bomb- and weather-proof. However, Apple has surely placed/leased/built redundant back-up mini-farms elsewhere.
post #14 of 62
post #15 of 62
This is all pretty much standard practice to do a phased roll-out. It also makes a heck of a lot more sense given that Newark is only 150,000 square feet. Phase 1 gives them 100% expansion, and Phase 2 another 100% on top.

What is odd is that they don't seem to have a second facility for backup when they fill up Maiden. You would expect them to have started construction on another west coast site before starting Phase 2 at Maiden.
post #16 of 62
Apple could already have another 5 of these all over the world. How are we to know? Apple are only talking about this one. There could be another 3 of them going on night now in the US alone.
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post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by New_Muadib View Post

SkyNet!!!

Especially since Skynet is software! The iRobot is coming
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post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Hot swappable backup?

Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Not sure if Apple would put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. But Apple's growth forecasts may be indicating that the current layout is/will sooner than later be overwhelmed.

Although centrally state-located, the area is not impervious to hurricanes directly or indirectly. Certainly, the site is virtually bomb- and weather-proof. However, Apple has surely placed/leased/built redundant back-up mini-farms elsewhere.

If the dashed black line on the drawing represents Apple's property line (and I think it does), it appears that there is room for an additional module on this site behind the second one. True, it won't "book" together as the first two do, but then by the time it's needed it may not matter.

If Apple has shown anything in the last decade it has been its propensity for long term strategic planning. Look how many years the iPhone was worked on before being released.
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post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... One theory mentioned in the latest report is that the structure that Apple just finished completing this fall is only 250,000 square feet and that documentation that has long listed the initiative as a 500,000-square-foot project may have been contingent on the company building a second facility all along. ...

Since data centres typically use almost all of their building's volume for data storage and don't have a lot of extra meeting rooms, bathrooms or staff, a simple measuring of the size of the building from aerial photographs would answer this question quickly and easily if anyone's interested in doing it. It would be easy to tell, if we knew the length and breadth of the building itself, whether it could fit 250,000 or 500,000 square feet of servers inside.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't want to offend you any more than I am sure you don't want to offend me - so if you remove your religious reference in your signature we'll all be fine and dandy together in this Apple forum. Cheers

Seconded. Proselytising and Advertising are both against the forum rules aren't they?
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Since data centres typically use almost all of their building's volume for data storage and don't have a lot of extra meeting rooms, bathrooms or staff, a simple measuring of the size of the building from aerial photographs would answer this question quickly and easily if anyone's interested in doing it. It would be easy to tell, if we knew the length and breadth of the building itself, whether it could fit 250,000 or 500,000 square feet of servers inside.

Only if we assume there is a single floor. This thing could easily have a basement or two. Scaling from the trucks at the loading dock the above ground portion could have more than one floor.
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post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't want to offend you any more than I am sure you don't want to offend me - so if you remove your religious reference in your signature we'll all be fine and dandy together in this Apple forum. Cheers

You are offended by a link to Christian music? Seriously? It is not like he is pushing a religion or dumping on one. I think we can all be fine and dandy without him having to edit a non-offensive link. In fact, I think your total intollerance of anything remotely religious is more offensive.
post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You are offended by a link to Christian music? Seriously? It is not like he is pushing a religion or dumping on one. I think we can all be fine and dandy without him having to edit a non-offensive link. In fact, I think your total intollerance of anything remotely religious is more offensive.

Spam is spam
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post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Only if we assume there is a single floor. This thing could easily have a basement or two. Scaling from the trucks at the loading dock the above ground portion could have more than one floor.

The building is clearly tall enough to have at least 2, if not 3 floors of server storage. That said, there is a lot more to a data center than servers. I see what looks like a row of generators out back, but I do not see any means of keeping that beast cool. Unless there is a nearby chilled water facility just out of frame, the extra vertical space may very well contain the infrastructure for cooling, battery backup etc.
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobility View Post

Spam is spam

Unsolicited emails are spam, as are forum posts that are ads. An unobtusive link to download anything for free in the sig of a legitimate poster and forum member is not spam.

If the forum rules say no links, those are the rules, but I think you have to go pretty overboard to call that link offensive or spam.
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Since data centres typically use almost all of their building's volume for data storage and don't have a lot of extra meeting rooms, bathrooms or staff, a simple measuring of the size of the building from aerial photographs would answer this question quickly and easily if anyone's interested in doing it. It would be easy to tell, if we knew the length and breadth of the building itself, whether it could fit 250,000 or 500,000 square feet of servers inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

The building is clearly tall enough to have at least 2, if not 3 floors of server storage. That said, there is a lot more to a data center than servers. I see what looks like a row of generators out back, but I do not see any means of keeping that beast cool. Unless there is a nearby chilled water facility just out of frame, the extra vertical space may very well contain the infrastructure for cooling, battery backup etc.

The renderings clearly show ponds to the side of each building. Not sure what else they would be for besides involvement in some sort of cooling. Don't think they would have to supply their own drinking water for 50 employees!
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post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Unsolicited emails are spam, as are forum posts that are ads. An unobtusive link to download anything for free in the sig of a legitimate poster and forum member is not spam.

If the forum rules say no links, those are the rules, but I think you have to go pretty overboard to call that link offensive or spam.

Agree. When I saw it I reacted negatively for the briefest of moments, but then figured to each his own. Was low key and clearly marked for what it was. I can live with it. On the other hand, rules are rules if indeed no commercial links are allowed.
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post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You are offended by a link to Christian music? Seriously? It is not like he is pushing a religion or dumping on one. ...

It's a link to enjoy some Christian music. That's either an advertisement (not cool) or an attempt at proselytising (seriously not cool). Either way "pushing a religion" is exactly what he is doing.

All you have to do to see it's offensive is put yourself in the shoes of someone who *does* find it offensive. Imagine it's a link to free literature (about whatever topic you find offensive). Same thing. Also, it's arguable if it was a link to something Muslim it would already be deleted and the user banned from the forum.

Bottom line is that no one should really be using their sig to advertise anything at all, free or paid, religious or secular. It's tacky, it's against standard "netiquette" and always has been.
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Only if we assume there is a single floor. This thing could easily have a basement or two. Scaling from the trucks at the loading dock the above ground portion could have more than one floor.

True, we need all three measurements to know for sure.

I'm still assuming those measurements could be easily obtained though. I was hoping some more engineering minded person would figure it out for us.
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You are offended by a link to Christian music? Seriously? It is not like he is pushing a religion or dumping on one. I think we can all be fine and dandy without him having to edit a non-offensive link. In fact, I think your total intollerance of anything remotely religious is more offensive.

So keep all religious reference out and be done with. His Christianity spam and my intolerance.
post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

The renderings clearly show ponds to the side of each building. Not sure what else they would be for besides involvement in some sort of cooling. Don't think they would have to supply their own drinking water for 50 employees!

Ponds are often required for drainage reasons and for fire codes. Every commercial building I have worked on in the last 15 years has had a pond, and none of them were used for cooling.
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Ponds are often required for drainage reasons and for fire codes. Every commercial building I have worked on in the last 15 years has had a pond, and none of them were used for cooling.

Thanks for the info, good to know. But the way the ponds, especially the back one, articulate to the buildings makes me wonder. The back one has some kind of structure of its own. Could it be a sliding roof? Could the front one be partially decorative--a reflection pool? A pool for employee workouts?
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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Thanks for the info, good to know. But the way the ponds, especially the back one, articulate to the buildings makes me wonder. The back one has some kind of structure of its own. Could it be a sliding roof? Could the front one be partially decorative--a reflection pool? A pool for employee workouts?

In N.C. it is probably for fishin'.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Thanks for the info, good to know. But the way the ponds, especially the back one, articulate to the buildings makes me wonder. The back one has some kind of structure of its own. Could it be a sliding roof? Could the front one be partially decorative--a reflection pool? A pool for employee workouts?

That would be a huge pool! I think the shape and location probably has a lot to do with the contours of the land and the nearby creek/wetlands. Their size in area/volume is likely based on the area of the roof and paved areas. I am not sure what the tan area is. A support building, a parking/staging area, a phase 3 facility?
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by primedetailer View Post

I'm not familiar with what goes into a data center. The building that Apple is building is huge.

A data center is full of computers plus the network equipment to connect them together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by primedetailer View Post

Is it possible there could be some other use?

No. Apple got a preferential tax rate, etc. to build this data center here in North Carolina. The local officials would be mighty irate if Apple decided to use it for other purposes. Apple has listed a number of job descriptions for this location that indicate that they are staffing a data center.

Quote:
Originally Posted by primedetailer View Post

Is Google's data center as big or bigger?

Google has many data centers. So does Apple. It is likely that this new building for Apple is larger than some of Google's buildings, yet smaller than others.
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

True, we need all three measurements to know for sure.

I'm still assuming those measurements could be easily obtained though. I was hoping some more engineering minded person would figure it out for us.


I did a very quick and dirty estimation of building area (the area under roof) using the photos provided and the parking spaces to validate. I don't have any idea if the numbers are any good since there are numerous things I had to assume and the scale/quality of the web images was not the best. (I am a RPLS in State of Texas and Civil Engineer but this is far from any engineering estimate I would put my seal on.)

I was surprised to come up with approx. 246000 square feet which could easily be rounded to 250000 SF per building or 500000 for the total of BOTH buildings. Lots of room for errors here but the fact that my best estimate came out so close to the one-quarter million number is enough for me to think that Phase One is half of the original and Phase Two will complete the half-million promised.

Interesting.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

if you remove your religious reference in your signature we'll all be fine and dandy together in this Apple forum.

Seriously? Your that self important you felt you had to post that in public instead of sending a PM?

Your a bigot. We get it. Thanks for announcing it.

Quote:
Cheers

Indeed
post #39 of 62
Wow. Some people are sure seemingly intolerant of my tag line that I have been using for quite some time. It is a non-commerical link to some free music I personally own all the copyrights to. It is both my personal hobby and interest, and is not that different from someone linking to their favorite music and/or hobby.

It helps people find more about my interests. Isn't that what a tag line is about? (to give you a flavor of what that particular person likes). I have found interesting websites by following tag links by other posters over the years. I am very clear in the tag link. It is not misleading in any way, and to the best of my knowledge am not knowingly violating any forum rules. This smacks of violating my right to free expression, for expressing a small link that shows what I enjoy doing, and which I give away freely to bless others.

I enjoy posting the technical posts on this forum which express my opinion relating to Apple and its products and services. It would be a shame for AI to allow a few people who object to my small tag link to silence me from participating here.

Now, can we kindly get back to discussing the latest cool stuff from Apple? (without trying to debate in this thread about my personal tag-line)... Thanks.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

If the dashed black line on the drawing represents Apple's property line (and I think it does), it appears that there is room for an additional module on this site behind the second one.

I wonder where the house they bought for over a million dollars was on the site plan...
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