Apple has begun the first phase of its new $68 million data center in Prineville, Oregon, as the technology giant moves forward with serving even more cloud-reliant customers.
According to local news sources, Apple has started to clear and flatten the land for one of two buildings that will take around 338,000 square-foot of space. (That's about twice the size of an average Costco store, The Oregonian says, or about 320 times larger than the average New York apartment.) Apple's data center is a stones throw away from Facebook's own data center on the other side of the highway, a prime position for securely housing user data.
At some point in the future, likely next year, Apple will begin work on the second building -- adding about 16 rows of servers in total -- with room for even more should the Cupertino, CA.-based firm decide to expand its operations there.
Apple currently has around 150 million iCloud users, and that figure is expected to grow exponentially as more Apple products support the cloud-based technology. iCloud supports documents, photos, music and video, along with application data from third-party developers.
According to AllThingsD in April, the technology giant was granted a 15-year tax break in return for a $250 million investment in the data center, along with 35 employees who will run the facility.
Apple says on its website:
Our newest data center, located in Prineville, Oregon, is just getting under way [...] At Prineville we have access to enough local renewable energy sources to completely meet the needs of the facility. To achieve that goal, we're working with two local utilities as well as a number of renewable energy generation providers to purchase wind, hydro, and geothermal power -- all from local sources.
While Apple bangs on about its renewable energy sources, critics and green energy activists claim Apple is using too much energy from non-renewable sources, such as coal. Greenpeace still has yet to grant Apple an "A" rating for its data centers, for instance.