What is Apple’s Mystery ‘Tactical Data Center’?

Apple has ben building a well-known, 500,000 square foot data center in Maiden, North Carolina. What’s new is the discovery of a 21,000 square foot “tactical data center.”

Wired magazine flew over the Apple site and snapped some photos of the ground breaking, then took a look at some regulatory filings to discover that Apple calls it the “tactical data center.”

It seems no one really knows what the facility is for. One source for speculation is the CTO of Rackspace who has suggested that it may be a place for Apple partners to access Apple’s server facility without having actual access to the data center.

Apple's Tac Data Center

Image Credit: Wired

Another possibility is that a data center of this size has to have constant security monitoring for network incursions, threats and the like. Every major anti-virus vendor has a network operations and threat monitoring center, and a facility of this size needs one too. There’s a reason why Apple been pretty much immune to hackers after its 200 million credit cards on file. It makes sense to have the people who do all that secret, high tech monitoring be separated from the actual server farm.

We’ll find out more in time. Meanwhile, it’s a testament to Apple’s size and wealth as a company that it is engaging in major construction projects like this. Next stop: a Spaceship Campus.