Report: Apple Buying Boatloads of Storage

Apple has reportedly placed large orders for storage equipment from Isilon Systems that can support 12 petabytes of scale-out storage, according to a report in a storage industry publication. Storage Newsletter says the Isilon gear will manage video downloads for iTunes subscribers, attributes the information to “an inside source of the new dvision of EMC.” In November EMC announced plans to acquire Isilon for about $2.2 billion.

The report has sparked a new flurry of speculation that Apple is ramping up its storage infrastructure to equip its new North Carolina data center, presumably to power a cloud-based “storage locker” that can house music, video and other media for iTunes users.

Isilon specializes in scale-out NAS (network attached storage), which allows companies to begin small and scale quickly up to muiltiple petabytes in size, while maintaining high levels of performance and availability.

Apple’s new iDataCenter in Maiden, North Carolina  is nearly five times the size of the company’s primary California facility, suggesting that the company anticipates major growth in its data storage needs. Apple’s long-term plans for the site include a second data center of similar size, and in recent months the company has obtained construction permits for preliminary work on the site of the second building. Formore background on the facility, see the Apple Data Center FAQ.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Scott U

    Is 12PB a lot of storage anymore? That's about 1.5 HP PODs worth of storage, or about 15 racks worth of the dense storage configurations that Dell DCS is pumping out. This is newsworthy because its for Apple? ...I've installed 4PB by myself in a day without thinking it was anything out of the ordinary.

  2. Fred Goodwin

    I agree Scott, I have 4 TB in my home. Apple putting in 12,000TB seems like enough for a small city. They have plans for the world, 3.000X whats in my house doesn't seem like much.

  3. Dan

    I took the point of the article not to be about the amount of storage but rather confirmation that cloud is the next-gen iTunes strategy. Then again, the article's headline was written to get us all to read; "boatloads of storage" appears to be hyperbole :-P

  4. Scott makes a fair point. In storage, the frontier for what qualifies as "big" is constantly shifting. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Apple is a big purchaser of storage, and this deal may well constitute a fraction of their requirements. As for "boatloads" - yes, Dan we like folks to read the stories. :) What's clear is that there's tremendous interest in Apple, its data center and its cloud strategy. We"ll keep readers informed when there are updates that appear relevant.

  5. Anonymous

    Coal fired powered, rural sprawl, miles from major internet peering points. Aside from cost there couldn't have been a worse place to put a data center. Bad for the environment, bad for performance.