What could be in Apple’s Data Center Future, Video Rendering like Pixar’s Renderman

Datacenterknowledge’s Rich Miller has been getting a lot of coverage in the Apple Data Center discussion with his recent interview.

Rich Miller is editor of Data Center Knowledge, an online trade magazine devoted to the data center industry.

CoM: First, any idea why Apple is building this new data center?

Miller: Apple has said very little about the North Carolina facility, beyond the fact that it will serve as the company’s East coast data hub. Apple also has a West coast data center facility in Newark, Calif. Local officials I’ve spoken with say they believe the space is primarily to support Mobile Me and digital content for the iTunes store. The most interesting question is whether Apple needs a much larger facility to support growth in its existing services, or is scaling up capacity for future offerings.

CoM: Could Apple be building it for cloud computing apps — cloud versions of its iLife apps for example?

Miller: One of the leading theories about the size of the NC project is that Apple is planning future cloud computing services that will require lots of data center storage. Cloud computing is a hot trend, and I’d be surprised if Apple isn’t thinking hard – and thinking differently – about cloud computing. Many cloud enthusiasts say that cloud computing will eliminate the need for data centers. In reality, the only thing will change is the owner of the building. All the applications and data that are moving into the cloud will live on servers in brick-and-mortar data centers. The companies that are building the biggest data centers tend to also have the biggest cloud ambitions.

Rich speculates a bit on MobileMe and digital content.  I would agree with Rich and Apple is not going to be hosting analog content. :-)  

One thing Apple could do is leverage its Disney, Pixar relationship to allow a video rendering farm. A Pixar Renderman could computing service.  Below are pictures of an existing farm farm from flickr.



If you aren’t familiar with RenderMan here is the link to Pixar’s site.


They have loyal customer’s like South Park Studios that sell videos on iTunes and use Macs to create the videos.


Who else could create a video rendering farm?  You could create one in Amazon Web Services.  Animoto.com is one service that exists.  Jeff Bezos referenced animoto and even invested in Animoto.

Amazon Funds Animoto Music Video Creator

by Mark Hendrickson on May 15, 2008

Amazon has taken a special interest in one of its web service customers: Animoto, the machine-driven music video creator that launched last August and now has over 160,000 users. The online retail giant has decided to fund the startup with an undisclosed amount of money.

Animoto takes photo and music files from users and essentially turns them into souped up slideshows with background music that synchronizes with effects and transitions. The service uses Amazon’s SQS, S3 and EC2 to store the requisite files and process the videos.

Cloud computing has been so vital to Animoto’s operations that Jeff Bezos even used the company as example of how well EC2 helps web apps scale when their traffic hockey sticks (in Animoto’s case, when its Facebook app took off last month).

If you still think I am a little crazy, check out the Animoto iTunes app.  Why can’t Apple do this in their data centers?

Animoto iPhone App 2.0 has arrived!

The new version of our app is ready to download from the App Store!  It’s still free, so head here to grab it: http://itunes.com/app/animotovideos

Huge new features in this one, including:
— Sync to your Animoto.com account
— Download videos for offline viewing
— Longer videos with an All-Access Pass
— Lots more songs, new genres
— Better image fitting/placement in your video