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Apple owns another 70 acres at North Carolina data center site

post #1 of 40
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In addition to the 183-acre parcel where Apple's 500,000-square-foot data center will be built, the company owns an additional 70 acres across the street, suggesting the server farm could do more than just double in size.

When Apple purchased the property for its data center in Maiden, N.C., in 2009, reports indicated the deal was for 183 acres of land. But as discovered by John Paczkowski of Digital Daily, Apple actually owns another 70 acres across the street, also purchased in July of last year, to be used for an unknown purpose.

"The scuttlebutt around Maiden is that the company intends to use it for office space. But that seems unlikely," the report said. "A more plausible explanation is that this parcel, too, will be used for data center space."

If true, the use of the additional 70 acres could mean that Apple's data center will become much larger than anticipated. Late last week, it was revealed that Apple may already have plans to double the North Carolina site to 1 million square feet.

This week, additional evidence to support an expanded facility was revealed, as plans for the site include "Phase 2" with a second, seemingly identical building. The current 500,000-square-foot data center, expected to fully open by year's end, is already five times larger than the company's current data center in Newark, Calif.

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



Apple has invested heavily in the property, paying as much as $1.7 million to relocate a family for just one acre of land. Codenamed 'Project Dolphin' by government officials, the data center is expected to directly provide jobs for 50 people, and also generate 250 auxiliary jobs and as many as 3,000 peripheral jobs for the local area.
post #2 of 40
That's a lot of space for a 500 square foot data center?
post #3 of 40
That's a small data centre on such a big lot, 500 square feet, can't fit too much in that.
post #4 of 40
...and fixed...
post #5 of 40
Ahh... the 1.7 million dollar winner must have been that homeowner with the place near the corner of Elbow Road which you can see in Google Maps.
post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosqutus View Post

That's a small data centre on such a big lot, 500 square feet, can't fit too much in that.

My master bedroom is my own personal 500 sf datacenter. LOL.
post #7 of 40
Lets all speculate on what Apple will use the server farm for. My hope is aside from the new app store, there will be a revamped mobile me service. Imagine Time Machine that backs up to a remote server and can be accessed from my iphone, ipad and any other computer. Now there are no worries about hard drive size. I can stream my movies, and music to my apple TV, iphone, and ipad. Prior to getting on a plane, I simply choose the content I need and quickly download that content into my device so that I can access what I want while I fly or otherwise am not connected to the internet. This will lead to flash drives on laptops as there will no longer be a need for large hard drives as your main storage is in the cloud. This will be revolutionary.
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post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmusikantow View Post

Lets all speculate on what Apple will use the server farm for. My hope is aside from the new app store, there will be a revamped mobile me service. Imagine Time Machine that backs up to a remote server and can be accessed from my iphone, ipad and any other computer. Now there are no worries about hard drive size. I can stream my movies, and music to my apple TV, iphone, and ipad. Prior to getting on a plane, I simply choose the content I need and quickly download that content into my device so that I can access what I want while I fly or otherwise am not connected to the internet. This will lead to flash drives on laptops as there will no longer be a need for large hard drives as your main storage is in the cloud. This will be revolutionary.

Yeah, and then one day the Sun will be more active than usual and you won't be able to access your data at all. This will start the new revolution.
post #9 of 40
Oh no! Apple is starting to buy up the US of A!
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh no! Apple is starting to buy up the US of A!

They should buy land in cooler climates. The energy cost to cool a data center like they are building will run in the 100s of thousands of dollars a month.

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post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They should buy land in cooler climates. The energy cost to cool a data center like they are building will run in the 100s of thousands of dollars a month.

I'm sure that was factored in along with dozens of other variables that wouldn't be obvious, including geological stability, cost of power, business climate, etc.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

I'm sure that was factored in along with dozens of other variables that wouldn't be obvious, including geological stability, cost of power, business climate, etc.

I'm thinking Colorado will be next. That way they have West Coast, East Coast and Midwest covered then go to Europe and Asia. You really need to be close to your data for super high speed that would be necessary for cloud storage. We have offices in Europe and the latency is definitely an issue from California.

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post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I'm thinking Colorado will be next. That way they have West Coast, East Coast and Midwest covered then go to Europe and Asia. You really need to be close to your data for super high speed that would be necessary for cloud storage. We have offices in Europe and the latency is definitely an issue from California.


NOW we know what Steve was alluding to on the big use for his pile of cash--server farm on the moon!
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post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

NOW we know what Steve was alluding to on the big use for his pile of cash--server farm on the moon!

See that is the thing about the speed of light. You can't go faster than 300,000 km per second, which is more than 1 sec. latency to the moon. So when you double that for a round trip request and response, plus what ever last mile latency is incurred, you are much slower than working on your own hard disk. That will be one of the challenges of cloud based computing.

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post #15 of 40
How do you start with 183 acres and build a 500,000 sq ft building and then DOUBLE the size of that building by adding another 70 acres? Especially if the two spaces are not adjacent.

I suppose it could be that not all of that 183 acres is datacenter - a shared parking lot for example - or that not all of that 183 acres is useable but some number of acres came with the lot.

Or another way to read that could be that the existing 183 acres site is only half used - and that doubling on the first 183 acres is possible - plus MORE THAN DOUBLE by adding capacity on the other 70 acres.
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If true, the use of the additional 70 acres could mean that Apple's data center will become much larger than anticipated. Late last week, it was revealed that Apple may already have plans to double the North Carolina site to 1 million square feet.

Maybe 70 acres recreational area for the staff, with swimming pools, gyms and a beautiful park with some lush restaurants inside.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

How do you start with 183 acres and build a 500,000 sq ft building and then DOUBLE the size of that building by adding another 70 acres? Especially if the two spaces are not adjacent.

I suppose it could be that not all of that 183 acres is datacenter - a shared parking lot for example - or that not all of that 183 acres is useable but some number of acres came with the lot.

Or another way to read that could be that the existing 183 acres site is only half used - and that doubling on the first 183 acres is possible - plus MORE THAN DOUBLE by adding capacity on the other 70 acres.

183 acre is 8 million sq. ft. so even doubling the building to 1 million is only 1/8 of your land. Even accounting for easements, parking, etc, there should be ample room to expand.

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post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

How do you start with 183 acres and build a 500,000 sq ft building and then DOUBLE the size of that building by adding another 70 acres? Especially if the two spaces are not adjacent.

I suppose it could be that not all of that 183 acres is datacenter - a shared parking lot for example - or that not all of that 183 acres is useable but some number of acres came with the lot.

Or another way to read that could be that the existing 183 acres site is only half used - and that doubling on the first 183 acres is possible - plus MORE THAN DOUBLE by adding capacity on the other 70 acres.

An acre is 43560 square feet, so a 500,000 square ft building is about 11.5 acres. Plenty of room.
post #19 of 40
Steve's original plan was for the data center to resemble a giant 500,000 sq. ft. Mac mini.
The building across the street will resemble a giant 500,000 sq. ft. Time Capsule.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Maybe 70 acres recreational area for the staff, with swimming pools, gyms and a beautiful park with some lush restaurants inside.

70 acres for about 35 employees?
Unless the plan is to seal them into the bubble so they can't leave.
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They should buy land in cooler climates. The energy cost to cool a data center like they are building will run in the 100s of thousands of dollars a month.

While they add 2 billion in cash to their bank account per month.
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

While they add 2 billion in cash to their bank account per month.


Energy costs are a big deal no matter how much money you have. From an environmental perspective, wasting energy is not a good corporate image strategy either. That is one reason both Google and MS are building data centers in the Pacific Northwest closer to hydroelectric sources and in cooler climates.

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post #23 of 40
What a waste of valuable real estate. They should have made their first building 4 floors and 1/2 the footprint. They could at least cover the roof with solar panels to at least be a **little** environmentally conscious/offset their carbon.
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Energy costs are a big deal no matter how much money you have. From an environmental perspective, wasting energy is not a good corporate image strategy either. That is one reason both Google and MS are building data centers in the Pacific Northwest closer to hydroelectric sources and in cooler climates.

If they were really serious about wanting to help the environment, they would have built it at the North Pole or Antarctica.
Not to mention the impact it would have on the local economy.
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMacGuy View Post

What a waste of valuable real estate. They should have made their first building 4 floors and 1/2 the footprint. They could at least cover the roof with solar panels to at least be a **little** environmentally conscious/offset their carbon.

Or they should have just stacked all the servers in a giant tower and left the refrigerator door open.
post #26 of 40
making the roof all white is a cheap way to reduce cooling costs. i have to assume they're using geothermal cooling as well - but i haven't seen any construction photos that can verify this.

If it were strictly a cost issue, North Carolina charges commercial customers [on average] 8.41 cents/KwH. Montana would be the cheapest @4.91 cents/KwH
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMacGuy View Post

What a waste of valuable real estate. They should have made their first building 4 floors and 1/2 the footprint. They could at least cover the roof with solar panels to at least be a **little** environmentally conscious/offset their carbon.

building a single floor slab-on grade prefab metal building for a server farm is far cheaper than building a multi-story structure required to handle the dead load weight of those servers

...and solar panels on the roof of a server farm would only meet a TINY fraction of their power demands - the equivalent of putting a sail on an aircraft carrier.
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMacGuy View Post

What a waste of valuable real estate. They should have made their first building 4 floors and 1/2 the footprint. They could at least cover the roof with solar panels to at least be a **little** environmentally conscious/offset their carbon.

Do you have any idea what the cost is to reinforce a floor to hold the weight of a row of servers and or storage? A lot. And all the power and cable runs etc. Any savings in ground area could easily be spent on the required infrastructure to get gear to multiple floors.

And there may be zoning laws limiting the height of biildings.
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

If it were strictly a cost issue, North Carolina charges commercial customers [on average] 8.41 cents/KwH. Montana would be the cheapest @4.91 cents/KwH

Montana is too remote and not convenient to the existing data grid or peering points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

building a single floor slab-on grade prefab metal building for a server farm is far cheaper than building a multi-story structure required to handle the dead load weight of those servers

ALL data centers have raised floors. Slabs vs. any other structural design is irrelevant to the weight of the servers. Most, but not all data centers are single level for many reasons. Mostly it costs less to build out rather than up, you know, with cranes and elevators, etc. So if you have the land it makes sense. And they will not use metal prefab. Tilt up concrete all the way.

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post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Montana is too remote and not convenient to the existing data grid or peering points.



ALL data centers have raised floors. Slabs vs. any other structural design is irrelevant to the weight of the servers. Most, but not all data centers are single level for many reasons. Mostly it costs less to build out rather than up, you know, with cranes and elevators, etc. So if you have the land it makes sense. And they will not use metal prefab. Tilt up concrete all the way.

1 not all data centers have raises floora
2 regardless the weight has to go somewhere
3 a customer of mine recently paid about $80000 to add structural steel between the third and fourth floors of an office building in order to put a data center on the fourth floor. And that was for a single row of about 6 racks. With a raised floor.

Other items such as elevators not only for people but also for moving thousands of pounds of gear at a time are also factors.

The point is that any project of that scale has about a thousand considerations which must all be weighed and balanced against each other. And unless you are a general contractor or designer of such projects then you are only qualified to speculate. I am not picking on anyone in particular here just saying that the majority of us have newer had to even imagine all the data points necessary to plan an implement such a project.
post #31 of 40
I am amazed no one has started an Area 51 rumor yet. This is where SJ will next meet the aliens who are handing down the next phase in Apple's technology.
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post #32 of 40
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Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I am amazed no one has started an Area 51 rumor yet. This is where SJ will next meet the aliens who are handing down the next phase in Apple's technology.

Naw that would be here
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post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

An acre is 43560 square feet, so a 500,000 square ft building is about 11.5 acres. Plenty of room.

and then if you think they could build a 2 or 3 or more story building, you quickly realize that there is plenty of room.

for instance, the corporate headquarters of Comcast is a 1.25 MILLION square foot building situated on a piece of land < 5 acres in size.
post #34 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

1 not all data centers have raises floors
2 regardless the weight has to go somewhere

Any new facility will have raised floors. Apple's data center is not a retrofit so clearly they will build it to suit their specifications.

Quote:
3 a customer of mine recently paid about $80000 to add structural steel between the third and fourth floors of an office building in order to put a data center on the fourth floor. And that was for a single row of about 6 racks. With a raised floor.

See, this is a mistake that companies often make. They invest all this money and manpower for 6 lousy cabinets. Rolling your own datacenter is a terrible ROI. It costs peanuts to have real pro hosting, 24/7 monitoring, backup, enterprise level firewall, physical security and gigabit bandwidth with multiple top tier peering, I don't know why anyone would waste money reinventing the wheel especially for such a small deployment.

Quote:
And unless you are a general contractor or designer of such projects then you are only qualified to speculate. I am not picking on anyone in particular here just saying that the majority of us have newer had to even imagine all the data points necessary to plan an implement such a project.

Agreed, but I actually do have considerable experience in this particular area.

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post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doorman. View Post

Yeah, and then one day the Sun will be more active than usual and you won't be able to access your data at all. This will start the new revolution.

One day your hard drive will fail,or your computer gets stolen, or you are on vacation with only you ipad and you will think : Oh thast why the cloud is a good idea."
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post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

building a single floor slab-on grade prefab metal building for a server farm is far cheaper than building a multi-story structure required to handle the dead load weight of those servers

...and solar panels on the roof of a server farm would only meet a TINY fraction of their power demands - the equivalent of putting a sail on an aircraft carrier.

It all depends on the load density and the distribution approach. We had a facility with more pounds of copper than steel as a slab on grade, so we lifted the data center above the plant and ended up with a net savings of something around 3%.

...and they do have sails for cargo ships-- MV Beluga Skysails is about 1/8 the displacement of an aircraft carrier, but it does reduce the fuel consumption by 20%.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Any new facility will have raised floors. Apple's data center is not a retrofit so clearly they will build it to suit their specifications.

You don't like APC either, eh?

We are actually doing more sites as slab on grade with high ceiling for air stratification. Easy to get larger coil and filter area in a large vertical unit, to improve efficiency.
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

You don't like APC either, eh?

We are actually doing more sites as slab on grade with high ceiling for air stratification. Easy to get larger coil and filter area in a large vertical unit, to improve efficiency.

Ha Ha no. We have redundant Powerware & dual Cat diesel sets plus unlimited fuel supply on retainer. The reason just about all sites in California use tilt up concrete is for intrusion security and seismic stability. Class A structures are required if you are planning to do any government data work.

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post #39 of 40
Or they could simply be buying land to keep it out of the hands of speculators, to manage the local environment, or for a redundant facility in case California's big earthquake hits. If Apple turns the new land into a bird sanctuary and/or park, they could average out very green if their data center chomps lots of electrons or otherwise pollutes. Or it could be for hotels for the visitors to Apple Heaven or a solar power source for the data center.
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post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Steve's original plan was for the data center to resemble a giant 500,000 sq. ft. Mac mini.
The building across the street will resemble a giant 500,000 sq. ft. Time Capsule.

Also, the design doesn't allow for standard sized doors, so getting in and out requires an expensive "Door to Apple Data Center Access" adapter.

Or you can opt to pay a yearly fee to have an Apple employee bring you what you need. But don't try to ask for meat. Steve won't let you have it.
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