Apple reportedly acquires stealth cloud infrastructure startup Union Bay Networks and opens a Seattle engineering office.

Apple reportedly acquires stealth cloud infrastructure startup Union Bay Networks and opens a Seattle engineering office.

Apple Plans Huge New Data Center near Reno

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Apple is continuing to expand its data center infrastructure to support its growing cloud operations. The company will invest $1 billion over 10 years to build a center at a new technology park near Reno, Nevada. The data center project is part of a development plan in which the company will also build a purchasing center in downtown Reno. An Apple spokesman told local officials that the company expected the new facility at the Reno Technology Park to come online later this year.

“We hope to build Apple’s next data center in Reno to support Apple’s iTunes Store, App Store and incredibly popular iCloud services,” Apple said in a statement. “If approved, this project would expand our presence in Nevada and create hundreds of construction jobs over the next year, plus permanent jobs at the data center which will add to our existing total of nearly 400 employees in the state.”

The announcement reflects Apple’s growing appetite for data center infrastructure, as well as its interest in on-site renewable energy generation, which is a distinctive feature of the Reno development. Apple currently operates a huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina and is building a second major facility in Prineville, Oregon.

The Reno Technology Park is a 2,200 acre property being developed by the Unique Infrastructure Group. The developers believe the abundant supply of land and power can support up to 1.5 million square feet of data center space, built over time. Initial plans for Reno Technology Park include on-site generation of multiple renewable energy sources, including 100 megawatts of wind power, a 20-megawatt installation of photovoltaic solar panels and up to 20 megawatts of geothermal energy. The site is within a mile of a Nevada Energy power island featuring 540 megawatts of capacity.

The Chief Technology Officer of the Unique Infrastructure Group is KC Mares, an industry veteran who has been involved with major data center projects for Google, Yahoo and Exodus Communications. Mares has recently focused on the design of “ultra-low PUE” data centers, and has a long-standing emphasis on creating sustainable data centers. Mares and Apple data center executive Scott Noteboom previously worked together at Yahoo.

Apple Focused on Renewables

Apple has made on-site generation of renewables a key component of its Maiden, N.C. facility, which will combine solar arrays and fuel cells to generate 124 million kWh — enough to power the equivalent of 10,874 homes. The 500,000 square foot iDataCenter is providing support for Apple’s iTunes service and its iCloud, which stores and synchronizes music, photos and data across multiple devices.

The on-site power generation infrastructure at Maiden includes two separate 100-acre solar arrays, which will each produce 42 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually. Apple will also use biogas from nearby landfills to generate electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy, which will supply another 40 million kWh annually.

Apple says it will also take a sustainable approach to the energy sourcing for its new facility in Prineville. Apple’s initial deployment features the use of modular data centers, which may be followed by a traditional facility.

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. Ron Chalmers

    Where can I sign up for a job there?