Inside iCloud: Apple Inc has quietly doubled its Reno, Nevada data center site

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
Apple has greatly expanded its data center near Reno, Nev., about four hours east of Silicon Valley. However, it appears that the company's aggressive growth in iCloud server capacity is only just getting started, with massive room for expansion surrounding the facilities.

Apple Reno Nevada data center


The initial facilities at Apple's data center within the new Reno Technology Park began operating in early 2013, following large scale construction preparations to build one of the world's greenest data centers in operation.

By the end of 2013, Apple had erected the first of its large scale server buildings on the property, ringed the site with rainwater culverts and security fencing, and had installed sophisticated water cooling systems.





Just over a year later, the company now has two massive buildings on the site, providing twice the capacity of its initial large structure. However, with 345 acres of land reserved by Apple, there's plenty more room to grow.

The site is situated across the highway from existing solar facilities operated by NV Energy, but a reported partnership between the utility, Apple and SunPower will greatly expand the area's energy output.

In 2013, Apple announced that a new 137 acre solar array would eventually provide "43.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy, equivalent to taking 6,400 passenger vehicles off the road per year."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    themacmanthemacman Posts: 151member
    I am surprised it was done quietly /s
  • Reply 2 of 22
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    Only it's not taking any passenger vehicles off the road, so why make the comparison? This is great and all, but it doesn't remove the 300 some odd cars stopped in front of me while I sit here in traffic. Why not compare it to a coal energy plant? How many of those will this solar farm replace? Or just give me the amount of green house gases and associated pollution this farm will save, and I can make the meaningful comparisons myself.
    Nevermind, I'll just google it. God knows I've got the time on my hands because we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    cash907 wrote: »
    Only it's not taking any passenger vehicles off the road, so why make the comparison? This is great and all, but it doesn't remove the 300 some odd cars stopped in front of me while I sit here in traffic. Why not compare it to a coal energy plant? How many of those will this solar farm replace? Or just give me the amount of green house gases and associated pollution this farm will save, and I can make the meaningful comparisons myself.
    Nevermind, I'll just google it. God knows I've got the time on my hands because we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

    Methinks thou hath exceedingly more gas than a multitude...
  • Reply 4 of 22
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member
    Apple will need all the server capacity it can build. iCloud Photo Library is going to be a massive bandwidth hog.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Now, we need Time Machine for iCloud.

    6TB per iCloud account for automated backups that backs up and synchronises everything on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.
  • Reply 6 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,148member
    slurpy wrote: »
    Apple will need all the server capacity it can build. iCloud Photo Library is going to be a massive bandwidth hog.

    I just hope Apple can get the price down for Photos storage.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I just hope Apple can get the price down for Photos storage.



    It'd help if device backups didn't count against your iCloud storage limits.

  • Reply 8 of 22
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 66member

    Maybe they should worry about up time first.

  • Reply 9 of 22
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    yuck9 wrote: »
    Maybe they should worry about up time first.

    Who says the aren't? Do you think the teams building these sites are the same ones that coding for cloud SW? Apple has over 100,000 direct employees, not to mention the contractors that are surely working on their data centers, so I have to think there is plenty of work for everyone without needing to pull people from their data centers technical teams trying to keep iCloud operational, fast and secure to work on building out additions to their data center in Reno.

    If they are the exact same people, I would imagine that as soon as there is word of an issue or potential issue with iCloud they get off their Caterpillars and put down their tape measures so they work on resolving that issue first.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,230member
    Great for the data server end of the equation.

    Now double the efforts to make iCloud iWorks apps actually worth a crap, and not some asinine EndNotes add-on service crap ala the OS X apps. Hell, Libreoffice is getting an iCloud version via the WebKit GTK+ 2.10 release in the next 6 months that expose the entire suite.

    Seriously, it's juvenile that ex-NeXT alumni and Lighthouse Software architects working at Apple cannot make a world class Office Suite they managed to do on NeXTSTEP by 1992.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Who says the aren't? Do you think the teams building these sites are the same ones that coding for cloud SW? Apple has over 100,000 direct employees, not to mention the contractors that are surely working on their data centers, so I have to think there is plenty of work for everyone without needing to pull people from their data centers technical teams trying to keep iCloud operational, fast and secure to work on building out additions to their data center in Reno.



    If they are the exact same people, I would imagine that as soon as there is word of an issue or potential issue with iCloud they get off their Caterpillars and put down their tape measures so they work on resolving that issue first.

     

    Not to disagree with your general point but to pick on your head count. Majority of that head count is the retail staff, Apple has less than 50K for non-retail purposes. I don't recall exactly from the last SEC filing but they have a large marketing team as well included in the 50K, so it is not clear how much of that is pure engineering.

    Updated: I found the info from here: http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/AAPL/0x0x789040/ED3853DA-2E3F-448D-ADB4-34816C375F5D/2014_Form_10_K_As_Filed.PDF

    As of September 27, 2014, the Company had approximately 92,600 full-time equivalent employees and an additional 4,400 full-time equivalent temporary employees and contractors. Approximately 46,200 of the total full-time equivalent employees worked in the Company’s Retail segment.

    46,200 out of 92,600 are retail staff. So, 46,400 full time non-retail employees. I doubt all of them are engineers but no way of finding out unless it is in that PDF that I've missed.
  • Reply 12 of 22

    Does anyone know how much server capacity Apple has compared to Amazon, Google and Microsoft?  I'm guessing Apple doesn't come close to matching them.  Compared to Amazon and Microsoft, Apple isn't making much money at all.  I've heard the cloud storage business is high competitive and cutthroat business, so I don't think Apple would be interested in cloud services for anyone but for those using Apple products.

  • Reply 13 of 22
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    mikhailt wrote: »
    Not to disagree with your general point but to pick on your head count. Majority of that head count is the retail staff, Apple has less than 50K for non-retail purposes. I don't recall exactly from the last SEC filing but they have a large marketing team as well included in the 50K, so it is not clear how much of that is pure engineering.

    Sure, I hope it didn't sound like I was implying they had 100k engineers, just that they had enough employees that they are working on multiple things at once.
    Updated: […] As of September 27, 2014, the Company had approximately 92,600 full-time equivalent employees and an additional 4,400 full-time equivalent temporary employees and contractors. Approximately 46,200 of the total full-time equivalent employees worked in the Company’s Retail segment.

    I think within the last month there was an article detailing Apple having moved to 100k employees.


    edit:
    "Cook also noted that Apple has now passed the 100,000 employee mark. Last May, AppleInsider profiled that in 2006, Apple employed just 20,000. Within the last year, Apple has added 20,000 new employees to its global workforce."
  • Reply 14 of 22
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post



    Great for the data server end of the equation.



    Now double the efforts to make iCloud iWorks apps actually worth a crap, and not some asinine EndNotes add-on service crap ala the OS X apps. Hell, Libreoffice is getting an iCloud version via the WebKit GTK+ 2.10 release in the next 6 months that expose the entire suite.



    Seriously, it's juvenile that ex-NeXT alumni and Lighthouse Software architects working at Apple cannot make a world class Office Suite they managed to do on NeXTSTEP by 1992.



    Agreed.

     

    I had to remove then reimport all my Pages documents recently because, after many weeks, I just could not, using any method whatsoever, get TWO MEASLY DOCUMENTS to sync correctly. I just got the eternal 'Updating' progress bar underneath them.

     

    I would not term the service reliable enough yet and I believe a reasonable timeframe has expired since it's introduction.

     

    This would never have happened if...nah...I'm not going to do that. ;) 

  • Reply 15 of 22
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    Now, we need Time Machine for iCloud.



    6TB per iCloud account for automated backups that backs up and synchronises everything on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.

    yes you probably need all that capacity for all the hot air you post, not to mention all your Apple watch backup you will need

  • Reply 16 of 22
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I just hope Apple can get the price down for Photos storage.

     

    Is $0.99/m for 20GB REALLY an issue? Is the price of a cup of coffee per month for 200GB REALLY an issue? I'm sorry, but seriously? How the hell are these prices considered anything beyond negligible, and how would they materially affect the lives of anyone who owns an Apple product?

  • Reply 17 of 22
    gtr wrote: »
    Great for the data server end of the equation.


    Now double the efforts to make iCloud iWorks apps actually worth a crap, and not some asinine EndNotes add-on service crap ala the OS X apps. Hell, Libreoffice is getting an iCloud version via the WebKit GTK+ 2.10 release in the next 6 months that expose the entire suite.


    Seriously, it's juvenile that ex-NeXT alumni and Lighthouse Software architects working at Apple cannot make a world class Office Suite they managed to do on NeXTSTEP by 1992.


    Agreed.

    I had to remove then reimport all my Pages documents recently because, after many weeks, I just could not, using any method whatsoever, get TWO MEASLY DOCUMENTS to sync correctly. I just got the eternal 'Updating' progress bar underneath them.

    I would not term the service reliable enough yet and I believe a reasonable timeframe has expired since it's introduction.

    This would never have happened if...n<span style="line-height:1.4em;">ah...I'm not going to do that. </span>
    <img alt=";)" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1wink.gif" style="line-height:1.4em;">
     

    ...if Steve Jobs was alive.

    Agreed.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    ...if Steve Jobs was alive.

    Agreed.

    I didn't say it because I don't agree with saying it.

    It was a joke. Steve could f*ck up from time to time just like anybody else.

    Steve Jobs wasn't Apple and Apple wasn't Steve Jobs. One of the more spectacular things that Steve created before his death was an Apple that could run effectively without him. Four years out, and looking at what they've achieved, I'd say he appears to have successfully done that.

    In fact, losing Steve has provided them with more flexibility.

    It will be interesting to see what Tim Cook will be able to achieve in the future.
  • Reply 19 of 22
    gtr wrote: »
    ...if Steve Jobs was alive.

    Agreed.

    I didn't say it because I don't agree with saying it.

    It was a joke. Steve could f*ck up from time to time just like anybody else.

    Steve Jobs wasn't Apple and Apple wasn't Steve Jobs. One of the more spectacular things that Steve created before his death was an Apple that could run effectively without him. Four years out, and looking at what they've achieved, I'd say he appears to have successfully done that.

    In fact, losing Steve has provided them with more flexibility.

    It will be interesting to see what Tim Cook will be able to achieve in the future.

    I agree.

    I should have used a smiley emoji, as I was being tongue in cheek.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    Can someone tell me if iCloud storage backups work with Time Machine in Auto mode?

    Thanks,
    Larry
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