Apple, Inc. massively expanding its iCloud data centers in Nevada, Oregon

Posted:
in iCloud edited October 2015
Apple is rapidly building out large new cluster buildings its iCloud data center near Reno, Nevada, about four hours east of Silicon Valley. At the same time, the company has also bought another nearly 200 acres of land in Prineville, Oregon to continue parallel iCloud capacity expansion at that site.


The front security gate at Apple's Reno, Nevada iCloud data center facility


Apple's aggressive growth in iCloud server capacity is only just getting started, as there is already massive room for additional expansion surrounding both facilities. However, the current pace and scale of Apple's data center construction remains surprising even to industry observers familiar with high priority projects.

In March, AppleInsider exclusively reported on the doubling of buildings at Apple's Reno site (shown below), which sits on 345 acres of land about 15 minutes east of the city of Reno, which is about a three and a half hour drive east of San Francisco.





Apple began building that development on scrub land in 2013, aiming to build one of the world's greenest data centers in operation, drawing most of its power needs from solar and geothermal energy.

Six months later, the company has already completed the framing for a third data center cluster (shown below, from the site's entry road), with work beginning on a fourth cluster that Apple applied for permits to build earlier this year.








The white buildings above were completed this spring, but the dark-colored framework popped up over the summer


Apple's construction is progressing so fast at the Reno site that it is now depending on a new electrical substation and power lines being completed by NV Energy in order to continue its expansion.

A vast new solar array reported to began operation this summer by the Reno Gazette Journal, enabling the site to draw 100 percent of its power needs from a renewable source.

Meanwhile, Apple is also expanding its landholdings in Prineville, Oregon, a data center site Apple began working on in parallel about four years ago. The Bend Bulletin reported that Apple closed a $3.6 million deal for almost 200 additional acres of land adjacent to its existing 159 acre site acquired in 2012.

The project takes advantage of Oregon's enterprise zone tax abatements designed to incentivize job creation in counties with high unemployment. Prineville's Crook County Judge Michael McCabe told reporters that Apple had previously agreed to create 35 new jobs at the facility, including local hiring.

"They're really family-wage jobs," McCabe said, noting that in addition to direct hires, Apple's data center operations and investments infuse "economic vitality" into the county and that the local government enjoys "a great relationship" with the company.

Apple's Prineville site is powered in part by small hydroelectric sites located nearby, which Apple began acquiring and expanding last year.

At the beginning of this year, Apple announced a multi-billion euro data center project that plans to add new state-of-the-art facilities in Athenry in County Galway, Ireland and Viborg, Denmark in the Jutland peninsula, with both locations powered exclusively by renewable energy. Those facilities are expected to begin operating in 2017.

The company also announced plans in February to convert the site of its failed partnership with GT Advanced Technologies into a new "global command" data center, with a price tag of at least $2 billion.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    Now all they need is someone to get iCloud working.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 147member

    Works great for me.   With the massive and growing volume of photos in iCloud, Apple may have to put servers on the moon and relay via satellite. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 3 of 14
    That's great. Now if they would FIX IT for ios9 maybe we could actually USE IT.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    schmrtzzz wrote: »
    Now all they need is someone to get iCloud working.
    junk69a wrote: »
    That's great. Now if they would FIX IT for ios9 maybe we could actually USE IT.

    A lot of people have legitimate issues with this or that product or service, but if you're just going to spout some one-off, negative comment that isn't followed up by any specific issue, attempts at resolutions, or anything else that would squarely put you in the realm of being a problem solver instead of a problem instigator, then I implore you to just shut up.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 5 of 14
    ksecksec Posts: 1,566member

    I used to post, if anyone remember, That Apple is behind on Datacenter development, they were late to react, late to built, and conservative on capacity.

     

    With the recent sudden planned increase in capacity from EU Datacenter, and the same development in China. ( It doesn't get covered in news due to all sort of reason ), I was at one time beginning to think they finally get it and they have everything in place for future iCloud development.

     

    But with Reno planned increase, Apple will likely have the largest Datacenter area / volume in the world when they have it all online.

    For the already big players, it is rare to see continuous expanding in the size like this. HDD are planned to get at least 12TB by 2017. 20TB (HAMR) while being delayed should come before 2020. The HDD industry has a clear roadmap for the next 10 years to reach up to 100TB.  This is 10 times the max capacity of today's HDD.

     

    We have Multi Layer Flash TLC with roadmap of 100 layers by 2018. Xpoint Memory to fit in between, Stacked DRAM for increase of Memory capacity, which is crucial for In-Memory Computing. 7nm and likely 5nm for CPU to Shrink with 8 - 16 times the number of Cores we have today. 

     

    i.e We are likely to have x times the storage and performance capacity per server then what we have today.

     

    I find it hard to believe Apple would have over planned their capacity, since they are a very conservative company. So what exactly do they plan to use this capacity for?

     

    Are we going to see free iCloud backup coming? Or Some new product that we will need this capacity increase?

  • Reply 6 of 14
    I agree with @ksec, I definitely feel this is the start of something although I'm not sure what yet.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ksec View Post

     

    I find it hard to believe Apple would have over planned their capacity, since they are a very conservative company. So what exactly do they plan to use this capacity for?

     

    Are we going to see free iCloud backup coming? Or Some new product that we will need this capacity increase?


    There is certainly room for improvement regarding cloud backups and app support, if only to make the cloud more affordable. Most of the people I know who lost/broke their iDevices did not have a backup, either due to cost or lack of knowledge. This is unfortunate, because the technology is readily available.

  • Reply 8 of 14
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,511member
    ksec wrote: »
    I used to post, if anyone remember, That Apple is behind on Datacenter development, they were late to react, late to built, and conservative on capacity.

    With the recent sudden planned increase in capacity from EU Datacenter, and the same development in China. ( It doesn't get covered in news due to all sort of reason ), I was at one time beginning to think they finally get it and they have everything in place for future iCloud development.

    But with Reno planned increase, Apple will likely have the largest Datacenter area / volume in the world when they have it all online.
    For the already big players, it is rare to see continuous expanding in the size like this. HDD are planned to get at least 12TB by 2017. 20TB (HAMR) while being delayed should come before 2020. The HDD industry has a clear roadmap for the next 10 years to reach up to 100TB.  This is 10 times the max capacity of today's HDD.

    We have Multi Layer Flash TLC with roadmap of 100 layers by 2018. Xpoint Memory to fit in between, Stacked DRAM for increase of Memory capacity, which is crucial for In-Memory Computing. 7nm and likely 5nm for CPU to Shrink with 8 - 16 times the number of Cores we have today. 

    i.e We are likely to have x times the storage and performance capacity per server then what we have today.

    I find it hard to believe Apple would have over planned their capacity, since they are a very conservative company. So what exactly do they plan to use this capacity for?

    Are we going to see free iCloud backup coming? Or Some new product that we will need this capacity increase?

    Very interesting. Apple must have realized the monster they had by the tail right after the success of the app-enabled iPhone, while they were in the late phases of developing the next data hog, the iPad, whose success was unknown.

    Steve's insecurity about the success of the iPad was well known, but after about a year he was saying "we have a tiger by the tail" with that platform.

    All of which means they only knew for sure what business they really were in around 2010-2011. The planning for the Maiden center must have been underway by then. The way Apple does things, I would expect that they would take a sequential approach to building out capacity, learning how to plan, contract out, supply with green energy, etc., as they did the first jobs. Now they may be ready to go full-throttle.

    Your last speculation is most interesting. They have now realized they're going to be storing the entire data-life records including pictures of, what, 40 percent of the people in the developed world eventually? Zuckerberg has already realized that the communications of the future are going to evolve technologically, thus $2 billion for Oculus. Apple could see a massive 3D mapping opportunity across the world using crowd-sourced 3D FaceTime, for all we know. Whatever it is, their vision now must be some kind of data-heavy planetary project. And they have to get better than Google.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    schmrtzzz wrote: »
    Now all they need is someone to get iCloud working.

    works fine for me. is your phone broken? what's not working about it?
  • Reply 10 of 14
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,589member
    solipsismy wrote: »

    A lot of people have legitimate issues with this or that product or service, but if you're just going to spout some one-off, negative comment that isn't followed up by any specific issue, attempts at resolutions, or anything else that would squarely put you in the realm of being a problem solver instead of a problem instigator, then I implore you to just shut the fuçk up.

    Thank you SolipsismY! The voice of reason is much appreciated.
  • Reply 11 of 14

    Some photo's sync, most won't. Most entries in Calender sync, some not. And syncing must work perfectly, otherwise it's useless. And come on, I'm not the only one complaining about iCloud? Apple always had trouble getting this right. 

  • Reply 12 of 14
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,620member

    I find it best to assume that Apple isn't run by stupid people.  So if non-stupid people were allowing iCloud to languish "unfixed" for a long time, the only logical reason I could come up with is that they expect iCloud to be much, much bigger than its current scale but they haven't fully spec'ed it out, so rather spending a lot of money and resources to fix it right away without fully fleshed out specs, they decided it's smarter to get a clear picture of what iCloud will do, then build it out once they know where they want to go with it.  

     

    If they're now massively and rapidly building out server capacity, then it's probably safe to conclude that Apple has completed a full blueprint for iCloud and the build out will include the necessary fixes.

  • Reply 13 of 14
    solipsismy wrote: »

    A lot of people have legitimate issues with this or that product or service, but if you're just going to spout some one-off, negative comment that isn't followed up by any specific issue, attempts at resolutions, or anything else that would squarely put you in the realm of being a problem solver instead of a problem instigator, then I implore you to just shut the fuçk up.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    solipsismy wrote: »

    A lot of people have legitimate issues with this or that product or service, but if you're just going to spout some one-off, negative comment that isn't followed up by any specific issue, attempts at resolutions, or anything else that would squarely put you in the realm of being a problem solver instead of a problem instigator, then I implore you to just shut the fuçk up.

    It doesn't work since the update to iOS 9 on any device. Cannot even get it to turn on. Is that specific enough for you?
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