Apple plans to expand NC data center
Monday, Feb 24th 2014

For a company like Apple, having top-of-the-line data centers is an important order of business. Because it offers so many different services and pieces of equipment, the company has a variety of different data centers to accommodate its myriad products. That is why the computing giant announced in 2009 that it was building a $1 billion, 500,000-square-foot center in Maiden, N.C. According to AppAdvice, the center was designed specifically to meet the needs of Apple's growing cloud presence, which has now become the primary means through which Apple data is transmitted between devices. Now, the North Carolina data center is getting an update.

Expanding a powerhouse center
According to the Hickory Record, Apple plans to soon start an almost 15,000-square-foot addition to its massive North Carolina center. The addition - which will be comprised of concrete paneling held up by steel columns - will feature computers and a data room cooling system. This is not the first time Apple has further invested in Maiden. In 2012 the company funded a $1.8 million expansion to construct a 21,000-square-foot tactical data center. With these additions comes the need for maintenance systems that operate efficiently without harming the environment. Fortunately, Apple has a history of environmentally-conscious computing.

A commitment to environment and efficiency
According to its website, Apple is always looking for eco-friendly ways to maintain its data centers and keep the server room temperature at a good operating level. From North Carolina to California, here are some ways Apple's data centers employ first-rate environmental practices:

Maiden, North Carolina: The data center that is about to undergo another addition is perhaps not incidentally one of Apple's most prized locations, with several measures in place to maximize outside energy and minimize environmental impact. These include the use of a water economizer to funnel outside cool air into the center, which means the in-house chillers only have to be used 25 percent of the time. A series of fans within the center guarantee that the servers receive only the amount of cooling that they need, instead of a surplus which would result in wasted energy and money. Of course, none of this technology would be beneficial if it's not being monitored, which is why Apple equipped the center with an analytical monitoring system that delivers its readings in real time.

Reno, Nevada: The weather is Reno might not provide the same data room cooling benefits as Maiden, but that doesn't mean Apple hasn't found a way to take advantage of the location. Because Reno provides a formidable natural supply of solar radiation, Apple is able to harness that for energy, making its Reno center 100 percent renewable.

Prineville, Oregon: This data center is still under construction, but once launched it promises to function with the same efficiency and environmental awareness that are par for the course with Apple. According to the Oregonian, the data center - which will be approximately 338,000 square feet - will require massive energy reserves to power. Fortunately for Oregonians, Apple says it plans to buy renewable power from local utilities to keep the center running. Through this approach, Apple will be able to tap into local resources for the solar, wind and geothermal power it needs to keep the center functional and healthy. Apple would not be the first major tech company to do this in the state. Google has a data center in The Dalles, Oregon, that relies on hydropower to keep its facility running.

No matter what type of system a data center uses to keep equipment cool, facility operators should still utilize humidity and temperature monitoring equipment to ensure that the cooling system is always working effectively and that hardware is consistently online.