Apple confirms $1.3B Iowa data center, says operations will start in 2020

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As anticipated, Apple on Thursday confirmed plans to build a new data center in Waukee, Iowa, which it says will cost $1.3 billion, plus up to $100 million more for a "Public Improvement Fund."




The complex, near Des Moines, will span 400,000 square feet, and handle services like Siri, iMessage, and the App Store, Apple said. Power will stem entirely from renewable energy, including "wind and other sources."

The Public Improvement Fund will be managed by the City of Waukee and develop "community projects like parks, libraries and recreational spaces, as well as infrastructure needs." The first planned effort is construction of the Waukee Youth Sports Campus, which will include fields, a greenhouse, a playground, and even a fishing pier.

It should take some time for the Fund to hit the $100 million mark, as the company will only be paying in about $1 million per year.

Similarly, though Apple indicated the data center should create "over 550 construction and operations jobs," it's likely that just 50 of those will be permanent. Apple is receiving some $213 million in incentives from state and local government.




Construction should start in early 2018, and bring the center online by 2020.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is slated to appear in Des Moines for the announcement, and will visit students at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center alongside Governor Kim Reynolds.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,116member
    It's outrageous that these cities and states extort large businesses to provide all of these "extras" to pander to the residents instead of being grateful the businesses decided to locate there and bring business and jobs to their area.
    Avieshekjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 106member, editor
    It's outrageous that these cities and states extort large businesses to provide all of these "extras" to pander to the residents instead of being grateful the businesses decided to locate there and bring business and jobs to their area.
    Please note that they're giving out a lot more in incentives than they're getting from the Fund.
    mike1jony0anantksundaram
  • Reply 3 of 20
    It's outrageous that these cities and states extort large businesses to provide all of these "extras" to pander to the residents instead of being grateful the businesses decided to locate there and bring business and jobs to their area.
    Nice armchair QBing there pal!
  • Reply 4 of 20
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,341member
    It's outrageous that these cities and states extort large businesses to provide all of these "extras" to pander to the residents instead of being grateful the businesses decided to locate there and bring business and jobs to their area.
    It's outrageous that these highly profitable companies extort cities and states to provide these "extra" $213 million in incentives in order to create just 50 permanent jobs.  That's $4.26 million per job.    How does that make any sense?   Why bother?  This is just so politicians can claim they created jobs.    Hell, pay me $4.26 million per employee and I'll hire every single unemployed person in Iowa.   They don't even have to work.  I'll just send them a check for $50,000 every year for the next 40 years and I'll keep the other $2.26 million per employee!    Hell...I'll pay them $75K per year each and I'll keep the other $1.26 million per employee...why be greedy?

    A $100 million fund, but Apple pays only $1 million per year?   Is that a joke?   So Iowa can pay off the public facilities they're going to build in 2117?   

    And it's costing Apple $3250 per square foot to build the place (including land costs I would assume).   That sounds kind of costly to me considering it's not much more than a warehouse with a lot of air conditioning.  
    edited August 2017 anantksundaramSpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 6 of 20
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,029member
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?
    Apple does in fact do everything you say Amazon and Google are doing with regards to cloud storage, streaming video, etc. Apple needs data centers for iCloud, App Store, iTunes, Siri, etc.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,343member
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?
    Did you miss the smiley off your post or are you really that uninformed?

    Just in case it's the latter: 

    On it's own, Apple's cloud services division is a Fortune 100 company. 

    On its own, Apple's services division makes more dosh than the whole of Facebook. 

    In 2014, the service was peaking at 200,000 messages. per second. That was in 2014. The service sends 40 billion notifications a day. 

    Videos, photos, FaceTime, music, app delivery, storage… 

    Next time, remember the smiley, or people might think you're clueless. 

    edited August 2017 coolfactor
  • Reply 8 of 20
    s_14s_14 Posts: 1member

    It's outrageous that these highly profitable companies extort cities and states to provide these "extra" $213 million in incentives in order to create just 50 permanent jobs.  That's $4.26 million per job.    How does that make any sense?   Why bother?
    The state and city are each putting in $18 million. The extra $188 million is tax dollars they won't receive because of a tax abatement. The abatement is for 71% of the value of the property, so they are still going to get $77 million in taxes from Apple from the 29%, in addition to the $100 million fund.
    jony0randominternetpersonSpamSandwichanton zuykov
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?
    Apple currently rents cloud storage space from Amazon and Google. I don’t know if IBM and Microsoft are included. Moving off the external clouds helps Apple keep cloud traffic private and customer data secure. 

    All of the data centers will also help Apple as its services continue to expand for AR/VR, AI, Music, video, Siri, Maps, autonomous driving, etc. 
    coolfactor
  • Reply 10 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,343member

    zoetmb said:

    And it's costing Apple $3250 per square foot to build the place (including land costs I would assume).   That sounds kind of costly to me considering it's not much more than a warehouse with a lot of air conditioning.  

    Great to finally meet an expert here! 

    So that last energy-efficient, high-reliability, ultra-scale data centre you built… How much did it cost?

  • Reply 11 of 20
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?
    Craziest post ever.

    iMessage. FaceTime. Siri. App Store. iTunes Store... I could go on, but you get the idea. 

    Also, this is Apple planning for the future. Think about that for a few hours...
  • Reply 12 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,755member
    It's outrageous that these cities and states extort large businesses to provide all of these "extras" to pander to the residents instead of being grateful the businesses decided to locate there and bring business and jobs to their area.
    Hmm. Unless there is collusion across all possible hosting locations why would a large business agree to be “extorted?” There’s obviously a favorable ROI in it for the businesses or they wouldn’t agree to the terms and conditions. 
  • Reply 13 of 20

    It should take some time for the Fund to hit the $100 million mark, as the company will only be paying in about $1 million per year.


    Some time? It'll take a hundred years....like in the year 2118 Apple will write their last check on the 100 million...everyone a part of this deal will be dead...dead, and their kids will be grown adults... that damn fishing pier better not be the last thing they build or by then people will go learn about fish in museums...
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 14 of 20
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,307member
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many? Apple isn't like Google or Amazon running cloud storage, cloud processing, and streaming video, so what's the need? Is it possible Apple is just getting prepared for some future need for storage? Every other tech company boasts of profitable cloud services except Apple. Apple may have some cloud business but it likely doesn't bring in very much revenue. Apple doesn't offer cloud storage or processing for other companies. I honestly don't understand why Apple needs so many data centers for what basically amounts to internal use only.  Does Apple even offer reasonable rates for Apple cloud storage users?

    You must be new to the Apple scene? Apple has been offering cloud services for 16+ years, and their global computing needs have only increased 100-fold in the past 10 years. For many years, Apple _did_ use other providers, such as Amazon and Google, but they are a company that wants control over everything, so they are building their own data centres now.

    Geographic proximity to users is a very important factor. The closer the data center, the better the performance of all services offered. Geographic diversity also lowers the impact during unexpected outages.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 15 of 20
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,307member

    Rayz2016 said:

    In 2014, the service was peaking at 200,000 messages. per second. That was in 2014. The service sends 40 billion notifications a day. 

    40 billion per DAY? That's 463,000 per SECOND!

    I remember when Apple was taking their time building their notification platform, and they did not want to release it until it could truly scale. Guess they really did achieve that. Notifications work instantly and perfectly for me.

  • Reply 16 of 20
    zoetmb said:
    ...
    And it's costing Apple $3250 per square foot to build the place (including land costs I would assume).   That sounds kind of costly to me considering it's not much more than a warehouse with a lot of air conditioning.  
    I bet then when firms talk about building a "one point something billion dollar data center" they are including every cost they can think of not just the building costs.  Because you're right that you can build a VERY impressive building for a billion dollars (especially in the middle of nowhere).  But think about how much computing hardware gets packed into 400,000 square feet.  Those costs add up.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 17 of 20

    Rayz2016 said:

    In 2014, the service was peaking at 200,000 messages. per second. That was in 2014. The service sends 40 billion notifications a day. 

    40 billion per DAY? That's 463,000 per SECOND!

    I remember when Apple was taking their time building their notification platform, and they did not want to release it until it could truly scale. Guess they really did achieve that. Notifications work instantly and perfectly for me.


    I wonder if that 40 billion a day number includes all notifications including those that are entirely local (a notification generated by an app on your phone) that never hit Apple's infrastructure.  But even if half of those are local, it's an enormous number.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Does anyone know what Apple uses its data centers for that it needs so many?
    Redundancy - getting ready for the apocalypse..
  • Reply 19 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,116member

    It should take some time for the Fund to hit the $100 million mark, as the company will only be paying in about $1 million per year.


    Some time? It'll take a hundred years....like in the year 2118 Apple will write their last check on the 100 million...everyone a part of this deal will be dead...dead, and their kids will be grown adults... that damn fishing pier better not be the last thing they build or by then people will go learn about fish in museums...
    I seriously doubt these extraordinary data centers will be necessary in even as little as 20 years from now. Why? Computing will be radically different over the next 2, 3 and 4 decades, never mind 100 years from now. And content currently served up in these data centers could instead be generated on-the-fly on an individual device basis in the Apple computing products of the future and by using mesh networks or innovative content delivery methods, such as Filecoin (or more generally IPFS: https://ipfs.io/ ...). We're talking about computing that is thousands of times more powerful than the most impressive computers of today, therefore dependence on massive centralized storage solutions could completely disappear.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 20 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,182moderator

    It should take some time for the Fund to hit the $100 million mark, as the company will only be paying in about $1 million per year.


    Some time? It'll take a hundred years....like in the year 2118 Apple will write their last check on the 100 million...everyone a part of this deal will be dead...dead, and their kids will be grown adults... that damn fishing pier better not be the last thing they build or by then people will go learn about fish in museums...
    I seriously doubt these extraordinary data centers will be necessary in even as little as 20 years from now. Why? Computing will be radically different over the next 2, 3 and 4 decades, never mind 100 years from now. And content currently served up in these data centers could instead be generated on-the-fly on an individual device basis in the Apple computing products of the future and by using mesh networks or innovative content delivery methods, such as Filecoin (or more generally IPFS: https://ipfs.io/ ...). We're talking about computing that is thousands of times more powerful than the most impressive computers of today, therefore dependence on massive centralized storage solutions could completely disappear.
    It's like the hosting system described in the TV show Silicon Valley:

    https://www.wired.com/2017/06/pied-pipers-new-internet-isnt-just-possible-almost/

    Bittorrent is a widely used example of this kind of system but that still relies on HTTP and search engines to find the nodes. The DNS system can be decentralized with a blockchain. The main ledger doesn't need to point directly to files but to nodes with those references, which keeps the sizes of the ledgers manageable and scalable, which Bitcoin should really do (e.g maximum 1m transactions per ledger and hash the ledgers by timestamp or id range).

    The transfers can be encrypted end-to-end. This is how IPFS does it. Every client has a key pair, they can broadcast the public key so when they retrieve a file, the block is encrypted in a way only they can decode it so during transmission, there's just a part of a file that is encrypted to every user.

    The battery and network capacity on mobile phones are limitations just now but not PCs. Netflix has ~5000 servers and tens of petabytes of storage (10,000 shows x 2GB = 20PB). To store this with redundancy, say 5 copies per file is 100PB of capacity. 5GB per device = 40m users. Eventually consumer devices will have multi-TB SSDs so it could reserve as much as 1TB per user. It would be best to ensure no host ever has a full copy of a file, the files should be split in uneven blocks to avoid legal issues and to allow scaling. There needs to be caching nodes too for high demand content so that 20 million people aren't trying to get a block from 1 device at the same time, when the capacity exceeds a demand (e.g 20 requests for 1MB each), the blocks would be distributed exponentially through the cache nodes and served that way.

    This kind of network can replace user-driven services like twitter, Facebook and Youtube. To some extent Google as the content can be indexed by the lower nodes. It couldn't replace authoritative services because people need to trust the source.

    It could replace the ad system for some uses too. If people pay for backup storage, there can be news feeds where the agreement is that on viewing the content, the reader's device is used as a cache/storage node and the news provider gets paid based on how many nodes they get.

    It's a vulnerable system because it needs devices to be left on. At night, people shut devices off. Servers run 24/7. The demand in certain regions goes down too but that's no good for a global system. The file blocks can be split geographically to ensure more redundancy. I think for user-generated content, especially low storage things like chats (Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp, SnapChat, websites), it can be a good alternative to mainstream internet services.

    I don't see it ever completely replacing central server operations because of the need for companies to control their content and be able to take it down or change it when they want to. For example if Apple no longer has a license to distribute music or movies on their service, the network can't keep serving it outside of their control.

    The costs to run a cloud service are going to fall. The population of the world probably isn't going to double in 100 years and SSDs can scale to hundreds of TB per drive (100TB this year):

    https://www.geek.com/chips/toshiba-hard-drives-will-be-40tb-by-2020-ssds-will-be-128tb-by-2018-1632425/

    Server chips will be able to scale another few multiples from now and the rate of improvement in servers should outpace the demand. This is a good reason for Apple not to get back into the server business. Apple's not going to keep needing new data centers forever, once they can manage the load, they will just maintain the ones they have. I doubt they'll need more than 10-15 data centers. This would give them ~1m servers to handle 1.5b users.
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