Behind the Deal for Apple's North Carolina Data Center

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    GigaOM takes a look at how Apple's data center in Maiden, North Carolina came to be, interviewing Catawba County Economic Development Corporation president Scott Millar for the story behind the deal. According to Millar, Apple was initially interested in building its data center within an abandoned textile mill in the area, but almost pulled out of the deal entirely when it decided that the building would be too small for its needs.
    Ultimately, Catawba County officials were able to save the deal by offering Apple the 180-acre parcel that had initially been envisioned as a cluster of smaller data centers and which is now where the company's massive data center sits.


    The report notes that Catawba County entered the data center market in 2005 when Google was searching for a location in the area, although the search giant ultimately settled on a site in neighboring Caldwell County. But based on that experience with Google and the groundwork that had been laid in working with power company Duke Energy on data center needs, Catawba County continued to scout for other companies interested in East Coast data center locations.

    Apple was introduced to the Maiden site, which had almost been sold off a year earlier, through an existing relationship with T5 Partners, a data center development group that visited the area as part of annual site tour of the region to promote data center development. With the county moving rapidly to secure the needed site, power capacity, and economic incentives, it was able to strike a deal with Apple for what is currently the company's largest data center by far.

    Apple has since announced plans for another large data center in Prineville, Oregon, where it has reportedly already begun building small-scale data facilities in modular buildings. And just weeks ago, Apple confirmed its intent to build yet another data center outside of Reno, Nevada, with the deal also including new facilities in Reno to support "business and purchasing" needs.

    Article Link: Behind the Deal for Apple's North Carolina Data Center
  2. macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2007
    I see what looks like 2 people walking in the middle of the roof.
    Massive building!
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    That building is so utilitarian, it's beautiful.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    Good eye.. or perhaps you have 100 dead pixels in your MBPr. :D
  5. macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2011
    Is that a data center for ants? It needs to be at least 3 to 4 times bigger...
  6. macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2009
    It's not really that big. Look at the parking spots in front of the building for scale.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    Or he just happens to have two of them...

    Glassed Silver:mac
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    New London, NH
    Why aren't they using that massive rooftop to put their solar panels? Seems like a waste of space. Why clear another whole strip of land to do it?
  9. macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    500,000 square feet is no longer considered very big?! :eek:
  10. macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    The additional roof load wouldn't have been calculated in the initial structure, and thus it wouldn't be safe to put it up.

    Furthermore, whether it would have been cheaper initially to build the roof in such a way as to be a solar farm, or buy extra land is not as cut and dry as you would think.

    Every successive beefing up of the roof adds to the building cost disproportionately, and you still have to deal with the fact that your workers and maintenance guys are all on the roof, every fastener needs to be water tight, you need to be so careful of the membrane, etc etc etc.

    Even if they did plan on the solar right from the start, there is a good chance, depending on land value, that it would still be more economical to do the solar install at another site.

    Besides, the less 3rd party workers in and around their data centers, the better they feel. Physical security will be immensely important to them.

    Karl P

    Edit: Fix Clarity.
  11. macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2009
    that building seems huge to me, where do you see solar panels?
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    Duhhh. What are you talking about? Did you not read the article or look at the pictures properly? It is 500,000. Did you not notice the loading docks on the right.

    I miss my down vote button.


    THe reason is because Apple employs professionals in everything they do.. and you are just a armchair president with employee of 1 (you) living in the basement of your mother's house and giving us your 'sound' advice.

  13. KidIcarus412, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2010
  14. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    To me it looks like one person and a mannequin. Hard to say, though.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2011
    Judging by the angle of the shadows, i would say that would be the quadcopter with a DSLR camera on it to take the photo.
  16. macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Worcester, MA
    He had a valid question, what does that have to do with living in his mother's house?

    Since this data center is so large, it would make sense to save some land-space and the money involved in developing that space as a solar farm by putting some panels on the roof.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Sep 13, 2011
    There is still plenty of land in the area, and they may need much more than 500,000 square feet of it for a large enough solar farm. I read one so called expert say that ultimately the farm would be 10x the size of the building...
  18. macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2010
    It is entirely possible they didn't plan on a solar farm until way after the design of the data center. As someone pointed out, it would be a complete structural redesign to account for all of that weight.

    The land next to the data center where the solar farm is was originally planned as another data center according to local government documents posted on here months ago.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    New London, NH
    Hadn't thought about the potential for water leaks. The value of the data inside certainly wouldn't be worth risking.
  20. macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    It was simply cheaper and easier to pave over more land, not better.
  21. macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Worcester, MA
    I completely agree. It'd be silly to throw on extra weight when the building may not have been designed for it in the first place; however there is a lot of surface area on that roof, it's a shame it can't be utilized.

    Ahh yes I do recall. Thank you for pointing that out. :)
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    Obviously he has more experience with data centers that are much larger.. and 'it's not really that big' is obvious based on his objective experience.
  23. macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2007

    Very surprised T5 was involved. They are in the business of wholesaling data center space, and the engineer they work with doesn't have a relationship with Apple, at least not that I am aware of.
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    New London, NH
    Just want to say thanks to all who are interested in engaging in a conversation about this rather than throwing insults around. 99% of what goes on in these discussions is just speculative chattering with the hopes that someone with a bit of knowledge can lend their 2cents. There is no place for people like OatmealRocks who do not contribute to the conversation any more than to put people down.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2009
    How is that a valid question? When did Apple become a utility company? What corporate white paper states they MUST be sustainable? The EPEAT withdraw doesn't sound like it to me. Perhaps the poster should ask this very same question on the new Apple campus that will be built. From the rendered drawings I didn't see any panels either. It is easy in hindsight to point out subjective flaws but at the end of the day they think their assumptions and suggestions are better than the decisions made by a organization as large as apple.

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