This week, a tour of Facebook's newest cold storage technology led me far afield, deep into central Oregon's expanse of high desert—the ideal spot for major companies to store their countless bytes thanks to a confluence of environmental factors and lax taxation. While out there, I figured that I might as well track down the hush-hush Apple data center that moved into the neighborhood of Facebook's 120-acre plot off Highway 126 late last year.
As it turns out, Apple's complex, code-named "Pillar"—and completely devoid of any markings identifying it as an outpost of the Cupertino company—is a literal stone's throw from Facebook's Prineville, Ore. hub. Tracking down the location of Apple's stealth site was just as easy as peering southeast from Facebook's roof, which ironically offered what was probably the best view in town. The Facebook employees pointed it out to me while cracking jokes about its apparently not-so-secret alias.
Construction began on the Apple data center last October, and now the first phase's main building (the large black one) appears to be complete, to the untrained, telephoto-lens equipped eye, anyway. Eventually the project will encompass two full 338,000-square foot data centers sprawling across Apple's 160-acre Prineville plot. And because everything is spookier and more fascinating when it's built out in the desert, we bring you the photographic fruits of our Veronica Mars-style investigation of Apple's Area 51.