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Apple 'orders 12 petabytes of storage' from EMC

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Apple has ordered a gargantuan 12 petabytes of storage from Isilon – the recent EMC acquisition – to support its iTunes video service, according to report citing an "inside source".

According to to StorageNewsletter.com, Apple is "probably" the largest of Isilon's 1,500 customers as of the end of December. That may be an understatement.

Isilon Systems was acquired by EMC last November for $2.25bn, and is self-described as "the global leader in scale-out storage".

Those 12PB are likely destined for Apple's $1bn North Carolina data center, which is scheduled to go online ... right ... about ... now.

Or perhaps this fall. Although an Apple spokesman told attendees at the company's annual general meeting in February that the data center was "expected to open this spring," more-recent rumblings have pegged Apple's rise into the cloud to coincide with the release of iOS 5 – and, for that matter, Mac OS X Lion – which will likely not appear until later this year.

In addition to the video services to which StorageNewsletter.com's "inside sources" referred, the huge data center – and Isilon's 12PB – are likely to also support the long-rumored ascension of iTunes into the cloud, allowing tune junkies to store their music collections on Apple's service and access them from any device, anywhere.

Well, any Apple-approved device, that is.

Of course, Jobs & Co's embrace of the cloud will only matter if Apple can execute a smooth transition to such services. Its track record on its cloudy MobileMe offering, it must be remembered, has been spotty at best – and an embarrasment at worst.

Just because you can purchase 12PB of storage doesn't automatically mean that you can use them efficiently, wisely, or in such a way that can upstage rising consumer-cloud competition such as Amazon and Google. ®

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