Apple has started the first phase of construction of its new data center in Prineville, Oregon. The construction of the first of two buildings will cost Apple $68 million, and the building will be 338,000 square feet and contain two “data halls”. Future plans include a second building identical to the first, along with fourteen more data halls. Apple originally purchased the 160-acre plot of land in February, as OregonLive reports:
Apple paid $5.6 million in February to buy 160 acres from Crook County, and promptly set up a small, 10,000 square foot modular data center on the site.
Only the modular facility is visible from the street. Apple, always secretive, restricts access to its main construction site.
In addition to the two massive buildings already planned, there is enough land for additional development, should Apple decide to expand the facility. Apple has committed to power the data center using only renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind power. While they haven’t announced when it will open, Apple has said that the facility will employ “dozens” of people when it is finally constructed.
When complete, the Prineville complex will be the second massive data center that Apple has built for iCloud in the United States, after opening their North Carolina facility in late 2010. With iCloud playing a central role in both iOS and OS X, investments like these are important for Apple to make in order to build a robust and stable infrastructure for their services, and the North Carolina and Prineville facilities are surely the first of many such facilities to come.