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Apple's NC data center pointing to cloud computing?

updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon August 17, 2009

Apple data center theories

The gigantic size of Apple's upcoming data center has lead to speculation that the company might be planning a foray into cloud computing, according to Cult of Mac. Apple has not yet divulged its intentions for the facility, although it could also involve the company's MobileMe service or iTunes.

Rich Miller, editor of Data Center Knowledge, suggests the 500,000 square feet of data center space outlined in site plans "would place it among the largest data centers in the world." The massive size also indicates that Apple might be preparing for the large amounts of storage necessitated by cloud computing.

"Cloud computing is a hot trend, and I'd be surprised if Apple isn't thinking hard - and thinking differently - about cloud computing," says Miller. "The companies that are building the biggest data centers tend to also have the biggest cloud ambitions."

Apple claims the center will be used as an East coast data hub, although the company's existing data center in Newark, California barely exceeds 100,000 square feet. "Most new stand-alone enterprise data centers are in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 square feet," observes Miller.

Apple's choice to bring its data center to North Carolina is believed to be primarily driven by cost considerations. The rural location fetches approximately half the price per kilowatt hour than many areas in California. Miller also notes that Apple took advantage of competition between North Carolina and Virginia to squeeze attractive tax incentives out of the states.

The facility is expected to require roughly $1 billion in investment over the majority of a decade, while generating thousands of jobs. Other reports suggest the overall investment could reach closer to $2 billion.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bearcatrp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I posted about this...

    when apple announced the farm. Apps will be going by way of cloud computing soon.

  1. beb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    cloudy thoughts

    I think it is gonna be a giant chocolate pie throwing test lab.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2 things...

    Higher peak usage capacity for when there are high demand loads. Ever get a busy signal after a new product launch on apple's store? Activation of iPhones also, & other things.

    I think this data center is planning for a future that we are just now beginning to see the start of.

    - A

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm sorry, but last I checked, Apple forayed into cloud computing a year ago with Mobile Me (hence the name change and the CLOUDS on their screens).

    And then the introduction of (or whatever that beta product was they announced at MWSF).

    So exactly how is this magically 'news'?

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sheer size. Huge investment.

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another Google touchpoint

    Yet another reason Schmidt had to go. Google and Apple were already crossing paths on key initiatives. Cloud computing /Chrome OS is Google's most ambitious attack on Monople$oft. With Apple entering the fray, it's gonna be another frenemy situation.

    Expect Safari for iPhone and OS X to be updated to take advantage of the Cloud. One of these updates will be HTTP Streaming protocol:

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Geez

    If I have to spell it out, cloud computing can be several different things. It's pretty obvious that this is for something new.

    Well, guess I have to explain English to people now.

    "Something new" has nothing to do with it. The article specifically says "planning to make a foray".

    As I said, Apple is already into cloud computing. So they can't make a foray into it. They can add to their current crop of services, but that's completely different than "Hey, Apple's going to get into cloud computing!"

    But you seem to be saying "Apple has online address book, calendar, and email, so they couldn't possibly add anything to cloud computing."

    Never said that. Just said they already were into cloud computing. The article implies they're going to be getting into cloud computing. That's two different things.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Another google

    Expect Safari for iPhone and OS X to be updated to take advantage of the Cloud. One of these updates will be HTTP Streaming protocol:

    First, you better hope they don't update Safari to support it. Last thing you want is Apple adding some new whiz-bang feature that requires people to use Safari to get the most out of it.

    Second, they'd more likely have iPhone apps to handle the tasks rather than Safari, like they force you now with current MobileMe services.

    Third, what exactly could one do with 'cloud computing' that would warrant wanting to stream video? Is Apple now going to start doing crappy YouTube-like services? Can't see that happening.

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