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As Carolina data center debut looms, Apple expanding in Silicon Valley too


Apple is said to be quickly building another new data center in Silicon Valley in addition to the massive North Carolina facility set to open any day now, ahead of the anticipated "iCloud" service.

Apple's new California server space will be housed in a third-party facility, and will be smaller than the massive Maiden, N.C., facility, Data Center Knowledge reported Wednesday. Instead, Apple's new expansion, expected to go online later this year, will be just 11,000 square feet devoted to data center space, compared to the 184,000 square feet in North Carolina.

The seven-year lease will get Apple 2.28 megawatts of critical power load in the facility being built in Santa Clara, Calif., by DuPont Fabros Technology. The building is scheduled to open sometime between July and September of this year.

DuPont Fabros has not officially confirmed that Apple is the tenant of the new facility, only referring to its partnership with a Fortune 50 company. However, industry sources have reportedly confirmed that Apple is indeed set to control the 11,000 square feet.

The new lease is noteworthy because Data Center Knowledge believes it to be Apple's first investment in a "wholesale data center," where tenants lease a dedicated, fully-built data center space.

"This approach is attractive for companies that need to deploy additional data center space quickly, as wholesale space can be delivered more rapidly than building a new data center," the report said.

Apple's rush to add more capacity could be tied to a potential imminent launch of its new cloud-based music streaming service. While most of the attention on the so-called "iCloud" product has focused on music, AppleInsider has been told that the product will also offer wireless syncing of bookmarks, e-mail, contacts, and calendar events, much like the company's existing MobileMe service.

Apple's other $1 billion server farm in North Carolina has been in the works for some time now, as Apple first selected the site in mid 2009. Apple originally expected to open the facility by the end of 2010, but said at its annual investors meeting this year that the facility will go online this spring.

Apple executives also confirmed that the Maiden, N.C., facility, with 500,000 total square feet of space, will support iTunes and MobileMe. The anticipated "iCloud" product is expected to be a successor to MobileMe and could be largely driven by Apple's data centers set to begin operation in the coming months.