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Apple's moving the earth for its iCloud site in Reno, Nevada

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
While work progresses on Apple's third data center in Prineville, Ore., a massive fourth facility is being constructed near Reno, Nev. AppleInsider offers an exclusive look at the heavy machinery clearing space for a major new data center building designed to host Apple's iTunes, App Store and other iCloud online services.

Apple Reno data center site


Other segments in this series have looked at Apple's commitment to building the world's greenest data centers, the company's jump start in construction at its Reno data center site, the massive scope of site preparation, the sophisticated water technology being installed and the futuristic data conduits that deliver iCloud's digital packets at the speed of light.

Lots of land for Apple's data center expansion



On Wednesday AppleInsider outlined the early completion of an initial structure built on the site of Apple's Reno Technology Park project. That small facility is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Apple has reserved a central section of 345 acres (outlined in blue, above) within the 2,200-acre Reno Technology Park (highlighted in white) to build a vast new data center now under construction. It will be the third Apple has built itself and the fourth that the company operates in the US.

For comparison, the company's Cupertino, Calif., corporate headquarters at Infinite Loop sits on just 32 acres, and the new "spaceship" Apple Campus 2 will be built on 175 acres, roughly half of the size of the company's recently acquired Nevada parcel.

The first data center Apple built, in Maiden, N.C., sits on 183 acres (Apple has also purchased an additional 70 acres next to it), and the Prineville site sits on 160 acres. This means Apple has already allocated enough land in Nevada to double its developed (or under development) data center acreage.

Apple's total acreage reserved for known data centers in the U.S. (758 acres) is nearly the size of New York City's Central Park (800 acres), about three quarters the size of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (at just over 1000 acres) and nearly seven times the area of the Vatican (110 acres).

Of course, the locations Apple chose for its data centers are all far more appropriate locations for the massive buildings full of servers and vast arrays of solar panels (which currently cover about half of the original Maiden site).

Nevada site was being used for... dirt



Prior to being planned out as the Reno Technology Park just a few years ago, the land Apple is now using in Nevada was primarily used to "pound sand", as the area is covered with sediment dirt that's useful in construction. On top of the sand there's a littering of black chunks of volcanic rock (below).

Apple Reno data center site


There's no nearby volcanoes, however. All that rock was carried hundreds of miles to the site by glaciers, resulting in a stark desert landscape that supports little more than the patches of grass and brush that can survive under the hot dry summers and cold winters of the arid climate.

Apple Reno data center site


South of the new tech park is the existing 107,000-acre Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, which hosts a variety of manufacturing and power generation facilities and serves a logistics hub for the Western US, including shipping centers for PetSmart, Toys-R-Us and Walmart. The site bills itself as "the largest industrial center in the world."

One main attraction to the area is that nothing goes on there: It's rated by the Department of Homeland Security as within America's largest "Safety Zone," given that it is "minimally seismically active," experiences little threat from tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or ice storms, and is located far away from any nuclear power plants.


Moving the earth for iCloud



One of the most prominent current signs of activity at the site are large earth moving trucks accompanied by large temporary water storage tanks and gigantic trucks tasked with wetting the dirt to prevent dust issues.

Apple's current project, listed as "MILLS 2" on a prominent construction sign at the site, recently got underway on a 63-acre area adjacent to the initial, small scale server building the company just completed.

Apple Reno data center site


Flattening and preparing the site for Apple's first big data center building is now underway by a dozen huge trucks, from graders to dump trucks to vast articulated water tankers (a portion of the activity is shown below).

Apple Reno data center site


Next to big off road construction equipment, even the full size pickup trucks in the parking area look tiny (below).

Apple Reno data center site


Dust is controlled by series of water trucks that spray down the exposed soil (below). This activity is going on right next to the initial pilot data center building.

Apple Reno data center site


Despite the vigilant watering, blowing dust is still an issue (you can almost taste it, below), and will be until the site's roadways are paved and the surrounding ground is landscaped around the new construction.

Apple Reno data center site


The scope of Apple's data center project is not just impressive, but essential for the region, which has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Reno has fallen from being the tenth fastest growing city in America to having one of the highest unemployment ranks.

"What Apple has done for this community is unbelievable," a local developer told AppleInsider, detailing the company's "innovative thinking" directed to solving problems and its "corporate objective" aimed at building the greenest data centers in the world.
post #2 of 19
I'm thinking DED took a day trip to Reno yesterday. It's a nice drive from SF, so why not.

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post #3 of 19

They are really investing on their assets, that's a great thing. Apple is becoming very powerful and huge, without the need to steal, create their own Mafia, enforce their own laws and good knows how many crimes (hello Samsung).

 

It will be great when reality punches Sony/HTC/Motorola/Microsoft/HP/Dell/etc. right on their faces and all Analysts and Wall Street dogs have the entire world population looking at them. "But... they had Market Share, since when bleeding money and losing relevance mattered so much?".

post #4 of 19

In high school my summer job was a "push Cat".  The big "Ukes" (machines that scrap the earth and collect it in a a hopper in the middle of the machine) often don't have the traction to scrape up the material so my job was to follow the Uke and push them with a Cat so they could dig in better. Easy work and great pay.

 

I know, off topic but the pic of the Uke and Cat above reminded me.

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post #5 of 19
Question for the horticulturists......just curious, but how do you landscape for this type of soil structure? Is it possible to have some hardy greenery that doesn't require copious amounts of water to keep it alive?
post #6 of 19

Here's an exclusive look at Apple's other data center in Nevada… 

 

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Here's an exclusive look at Apple's other data center in Nevada… 

[image]

Area 51?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 19
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
Area 51?

 

"Area what? Look, son, best not be sticking your nose into places it doesn't belong… that's the only friendly warning you'll get from your neighborhood general."

post #9 of 19

woodbine: "Landscape"??  Think about the word.  The best "landscape" is the one that is currently there, before Apple builds.  The natural, rocky, dry, desert landscape. Which requires exactly the amount of water that currently falls on it from the sky.  It's a matter of perspective.  The notion that the land needs to be planted with greenery to be properly maintained is merely based upon your own prejudices.

 

What I find most troubling about this article is the extent to which the lovely desert is being villified as a [quote]a stark desert landscape that supports little more than the patches of grass and brush that can survive under the hot dry summers and cold winters of the arid climate.[/quote] While this description smacks of ad-hominem (actually, ad-environmentem), I must give credit to it for correctly referring to the site as having a "desert landscape", which woodbine doesn't seem to understand.  

 

Desert landscapes can be beautiful and worthy of preservation too!

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post


I agree DED went a little heavy on the "thar ain't squat here anywho but a damned desert" line, but it's probably good spot for this building from what little I know. Hopefully (I expect, really) that any landscaping they plop down won't require much water and consistant with what's in the area. Toss out a few rattlesnakes and some former mob boss bodies and it will be just as it always was. 1biggrin.gif
post #11 of 19
They say in the future we will be able to download our consciousness onto a computer chip. Maybe that future is here, these large data centers are storing every aspect of our being. Immortality is here.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post


I agree DED went a little heavy on the "thar ain't squat here anywho but a damned desert" line, but it's probably good spot for this building from what little I know. Hopefully (I expect, really) that any landscaping they plop down won't require much water and consistant with what's in the area. Toss out a few rattlesnakes and some former mob boss bodies and it will be just as it always was. 1biggrin.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

woodbine: "Landscape"??  Think about the word.  The best "landscape" is the one that is currently there, before Apple builds.  The natural, rocky, dry, desert landscape. Which requires exactly the amount of water that currently falls on it from the sky.  It's a matter of perspective.  The notion that the land needs to be planted with greenery to be properly maintained is merely based upon your own prejudices.

 

What I find most troubling about this article is the extent to which the lovely desert is being villified as a [quote]a stark desert landscape that supports little more than the patches of grass and brush that can survive under the hot dry summers and cold winters of the arid climate.[/quote] While this description smacks of ad-hominem (actually, ad-environmentem), I must give credit to it for correctly referring to the site as having a "desert landscape", which woodbine doesn't seem to understand.  

 

Desert landscapes can be beautiful and worthy of preservation too!

 

The framing of the photos doesn't really suggest a "vilification" of this area. There is a stark beauty to the area, but the point is that it wasn't being used for anything but sand (and dumping) previously, and there aren't very many other good uses for it. North of the area there are vast stretches of public land, so it's not like this area (next to a gas power plant) needs to be left undeveloped to preserve the environment. 

 

"Landscaping" in Reno typically conveys the idea of rocks and native, draught tolerant plants and grasses. So you shouldn't expect green lawns or the apricot orchards planned for Cupertino's Campus 2 around this data center.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
There's no nearby volcanoes...,

Reno is located 50 miles west of the "inactive" Soda Lakes Volcano, 100 miles southeast the historically active Lassen Volcano, and 120 miles North ofMammoth Lakes Caldera which is a super volcano - which hopefully never erupt while humans are alive.  But, I guess it is relative. It's, better than being at the foot of a volcano.  

Quote:
 
It's rated by the Department of Homeland Security as within America's largest "Safety Zone," given that it is "minimally seismically active,"

However, in 2008 they experienced a moderate tremor and there was a major earthquake in 1914.  In fact, the USGS lists Reno as one of the most seismically active areas.  The USGS database shows that there is a 96.545% chance of a major earthquake within 50 miles of Reno, Nevada within the next 50 years. The largest earthquake within 50 miles of Reno, Nevada was a 6.1 Magnitude in 1994.

post #14 of 19
I've always thought it's great that companies utilized wasted rural land for business. Gotta make use of those abandoned resources.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodbine View Post

Question for the horticulturists......just curious, but how do you landscape for this type of soil structure? Is it possible to have some hardy greenery that doesn't require copious amounts of water to keep it alive?

It's called -> Xeriscaping

post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post
It's called -> Xeriscaping

 

Oop, that's not gonna fly with Apple, being X-rated and all. 😜

post #17 of 19

Now if only they'd be nice and open up a data centre in Europe...

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oop, that's not gonna fly with Apple, being X-rated and all. 😜

If it was a Google data center it would be called Zeriscapingz.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #19 of 19

Jesus we're actually building Skynet.  It's just a matter of time until Siri becomes self-aware.

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