updated 05:10 pm EST, Sat December 3, 2011
Apple mulls Prineville datacenter
Apple was claimed Saturday to be considering another major datacenter in Prineville, Oregon. The iPhone maker was reported by sources for The Oregonian as exploring the possibility of a 160-acre location that would be roughly a quarter-mile away from Facebook's own northern servers and in the same general area as Amazon and Google. It had even had staff on Facebook's premises as of last summer, the tips maintained.
The Cupertino firm might be going under a fake name, Maverick, to avoid giving away its plans too quickly. It may have to decide quickly, since it hasn't asked for an extension on a deadline for buying the land.
Whether or not it goes ahead may be based on practical concerns. A launch is reportedly "in flux" as Apple learns whether or not it can get enough power in a Prineville location. The local utility company, the Bonneville Power Administration, has been working to increase capacity in the area for June 2013, although this isn't likely directly connected to Apple. Most larger datacenters consume dozens of megawatts.
Apple hasn't confirmed any plans.
A datacenter in the area would be both a target of opportunity and a reflection of demand. Prineville's home of Crook County has a high 15.8 percent unemployment rate and is looking to attract whatever business it can through steep tax discounts. Most datacenters themselves don't create many direct jobs, but they lead to short-term construction work as well as support positions like maintenance and security.
Apple built its Maiden, North Carolina datacenter primarily for iCloud and iTunes use, and a second datacenter would show Apple expecting the need for more capacity in the next few years as cloud backups and streaming become the norm for iOS and Macs.