Apple to open data center in Oregon

Apple has bought a vast sprawl of land in Prineville, Oregon, where it will open a data center, the company said on Wednesday.

The data center will be built on a 160-acre piece of land that Apple bought for $5.6 million. The purchase was first reported by news channel KTVZ earlier this week.

Apple did not provide further details on what it plans to do with the facility, but last year the company opened a data center in Maiden, North Carolina, that serves as an iCloud backbone; it invested over $500 million in that location.

Located in central Oregon, Prineville has a temperate climate, which makes it a good place for data centers, said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group in Beaverton, Oregon.

The temperature is usually cool at night, providing natural air conditioning, which helps cut power and cooling costs, he said.

The land is cheap and so is the power, with multiple dams on the Columbia River generating plenty of hydroelectricity, Olds said.

Facebook opened its first custom data center in Prineville; it employs energy-efficient cooling designs, like an evaporative cooling system to chill incoming air.

A recent environmental progress report highlighted the environmentally friendly cooling techniques Apple employs in its data centers. For the data center in Maiden, Apple is building a solar array and a fuel-cell installation that will be powered by biogas. The data center takes advantage of cool air, and uses a water storage system to improve chiller efficiency.

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