Apple's huge new data center in North Carolina is getting a little brother. According to Data Center Knowledge, Apple is building a new data center in Santa Clara, CA. Data Center Knowledge reports that "Apple signed a seven-year lease for 2.28 megawatts of critical power load in a new data center being built in Santa Clara, Calif. by DuPont Fabros Technology." However, DuPont has not actually disclosed the name of the leaser. Data Center Knowledge reports that "multiple industry sources have since confirmed that the tenant is Apple."

The North Carolina data center has been under construction for the past couple years, and has fueled speculation about Apple's cloud intentions. Earlier today, Patently Apple reported new filings by Apple that seem to confirm the company's cloud media ambitions. So the revelation of the new facility is timely indeed.

What the Santa Clara data center means, as pointed out by Data Center Knowledge, is that Apple will have capacity on both coasts. The Santa Clara facility will compliment its existing Newark, CA data center. Data Center Knowledge also notes that Jeffries & Co. predict Apple will build data centers in more locations, such as Europe. You can find our past coverage of Apple's North Carolina data center here.

So what does Apple need all this data center capacity for? The filing that Patently Apple found is for a system that would allow users to sync media across a number of devices, including the cloud. Entire files, or portions of files, could be cached locally on certain devices for fast access. It sounds to me like a cross between extreme buffering of streaming media and the way Dropbox works on mobile devices.

You can find more details, and some diagrams, at Patently Apple.

What do you think? Is Apple's approach unique, or is it just a slight spin on existing buffering and caching?