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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,264member
    It's a giant RAID Level 1 array!
  • Reply 2 of 61
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 61
    adamwadamw Posts: 114guest
    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...
  • Reply 4 of 61
    g-newsg-news Posts: 1,107member
    App Store and Mac App Store, I guess?
  • Reply 5 of 61
    jb510jb510 Posts: 124member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    SkyNet!!!
  • Reply 7 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 61
    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).
  • Reply 9 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Hot swappable backup?
  • Reply 11 of 61
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,587member
    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
  • Reply 12 of 61
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 61
  • Reply 14 of 61
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,563member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 61
    irelandireland Posts: 17,454member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by New_Muadib View Post


    SkyNet!!!



    Especially since Skynet is software! The iRobot is coming
  • Reply 17 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,729member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    Hot swappable backup?



  • Reply 18 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    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?
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