Apple Offers Rare Look Inside Mesa, Arizona Data Center

Apple doesn't often allow people to visit its data centers, which are located across the country, but The Arizona Republic was recently given a tour of Apple's Mesa Arizona data center, formerly the site of GT Advanced.

The Mesa Arizona facility spans 1.3 million square feet, with long, sparse hallways equipped with servers. Apple calls the Mesa site its "global data command" center, which employs a "handful" of employees working in 10-hour shifts to oversee Apple's operations data. 150 employees total are employed at the data center.

Servers in the Mesa, Arizona data center, via The Arizona Republic
The facility is not recognizable as Apple's from the outside, surrounded by thick, dark walls draped in vines. A guard patrols the entrance to the parking lot.

Server halls contain dozens and dozens of rows of large, humming electronics. Booming fans sit above the servers in an effort to cool the technology.
While The Arizona Republic was provided with a tour and was allowed to take photos inside the data center, Apple "would not share many specifics about what happens inside the facility" due to security concerns.

The Mesa data center, and others like it, house data from Apple apps and services that include iMessage, Siri, and iCloud.

Apple announced plans in 2014 to repurpose the Mesa, Arizona plant where GT Advanced worked to develop sapphire glass for Apple products before filing for bankruptcy. Hundreds of GT Advanced employees were laid off when the company failed, with Apple at the time pledging to bring more jobs to the city.

The water-cooling system for the Mesa, Arizona data center, via The Arizona Republic

Not long after, Apple confirmed that it would transform the Mesa, Arizona plant into a "command center" for Apple's global data network. It has been operational since 2016, and Apple has been renovating and adding on since then. According to The Arizona Republic, the most recent addition, several new halls of servers, was completed in April.

The Arizona Republic's photos of the data center are worth checking out for anyone interested in Apple's data operations.


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Apple Ditches Plans for $1 Billion Irish Data Center, Citing Approval Delays

Apple has ditched its plans to build a $1 billion data center in Ireland because of continual delays in the approval process chiefly brought about by planning appeals by local residents (via Reuters).

Apple had been trying to get its $1 billion data center in County Galway, Ireland built for over three years, but has experienced pushback from individuals and organizations highlighting environmental protection issues.


Those against Apple's plans claimed a data center could have negative effects on local animal populations, while potential flooding concerns on a neighboring golf course were also raised. The planned site's proximity to a local nuclear power plant was later used to bring up new objections to the site's construction, despite the plant having been shut down for years.

In October 2017, Apple finally won approval for construction by the Irish High Court, after an appeal by two individuals against the decision was dismissed. However, the appellants decided to take their case to the country's Supreme Court, and while that hearing was due to go ahead on Thursday, Apple appears to have already decided to give up its fight to get the go-ahead for the data center.
"Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre," Apple said in a statement ahead of the Supreme Court heading on Thursday.

"While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow," the company said, citing plans to expand its European headquarters in County Cork where it employs over 6,000 people.
Apple's decision to cancel its plans is a blow for the Irish government, which is seeking to boost the country's economy through foreign investments. According to Reuters, the state is in the process of changing its planning laws to include data centers as "strategic infrastructure", which would allow them to get through the planning process much more quickly in future.
"There is no disputing that Apple's decision is very disappointing, particularly for Athenry and the West of Ireland," Ireland's Minister for Business and Enterprise Heather Humphreys said in a statement.

"The Government did everything it could to support this investment... These delays have, if nothing else, underlined our need to make the state’s planning and legal processes more efficient."
Apple announced in July that it would spend $921 million on a second data center in Denmark run entirely on renewable energy. Apple said the new data center would begin operations in the second quarter of 2019 and would power its online services, including the likes of iMessage, Siri, Maps, and the App Store.


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Apple Plans Second Data Center for iCloud Services in China

Apple is planning to build a second data center in China, with an operation date set for 2020 and location in Ulanqab City, according to a report today by Xinhua Net (via Reuters).

Located in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the second center is said to provide various iCloud services for users on the Chinese mainland. Plans are for the center to run on 100 percent renewable energy sources, similar to other data centers built by Apple.

Apple Inc., the United States tech giant, will build a data center in Ulanqab City in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, after its first data center in southwestern Guizhou Province, the local government has announced.
The Ulanqab City data center will be Apple's second in China, following an announcement last summer for its first China-based data center located in the southern province of Guizhou. The first center was set up in partnership with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry and in accordance with the country's new cybersecurity laws.

At the time, Reuters reported that Apple was the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to its data storage arrangements in China to comply with a new cybersecurity law that was implemented in June, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. While concerns about surveillance and data security were brought up, Apple assured reporters it had strong privacy and security protections in place, stating that "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Celebrates Groundbreaking of New Reno Warehouse With Visit From Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple today started construction on a new warehouse in downtown Reno, Nevada, with the site visited this afternoon by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.

In a speech given at the groundbreaking of the warehouse, which is located near the company's Reno data center, Cook said the data center is a key component in the ecosystem that provides billions of iMessages, photos, and FaceTime calls to customers around the world each day.

"We've invested $1.6 billion in the region today and over the course of the next six years, we intend to invest an additional $1 billion," said Cook.
"Reno plays an incredibly important role in the products and services that we provide our customers worldwide. Without the data center here, none of this would be possible."
Apple's presence in Reno kicked off in 2012 with the construction of its data center. As part of that deal Apple was required to build a facility in the downtown Reno tourism improvement district, hence the warehouse.

Apple plans to use the upcoming Reno, Nevada warehouse to move equipment to the data center, which Apple allowed the Reno Gazette-Journal to tour today following Cook's speech.

Image via the Reno Gazette-Journal

The site shared nearly 50 photos captured from inside the data center, filled with racks and racks of the servers that power Apple services. The images provide glimpses at Apple's server setup, cabling, cooling operations, cleaning rooms, and more.


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Apple’s Irish Data Center Faces New Challenge as Residents Plan to Fight Back Against Court Approval

Apple has been trying to get its $1 billion data center in County Galway, Ireland built for well over two years now, and last week the company finally won approval for construction by the Irish High Court. While it was expected that Apple would now move forward and begin planning for construction, two local residents have brought up a new legal challenge for the company.

As reported by The Galway Advertiser (via Business Insider), two Athenry residents have requested a certificate to appeal the court ruling made last week that granted Apple permission for the project. The case is said to be due back to the court on Wednesday, October 25. Previously, the same individuals challenged Apple's data center by citing multiple environmental concerns, but their challenge was rejected.

Locals marching in support for Apple's data center last November (via Apple for Athenry)

Environmental protection issues have been the source of the objector's arguments for the last few years, originally arguing that Apple's data center could have negative effects on local animal populations, and could lead to potential flooding concerns on a neighboring golf course. Then, the data center's proximity to a local nuclear power plant was used to bring up new objections to the site's construction, despite the plant having been shut down for years.

Many locals still support Apple's data center in the area, with the leader of the Apple for Athenry Facebook group telling Business Insider that "the collective hearts of Athenry sank" when the new legal challenge was brought up this week.

Apple originally wanted the data center to be up and running by early 2017, but these repeated setbacks have greatly elongated the company's timeline for the site. Once it is functional, the Derrydonnell Forest data center will see ongoing construction over 10-15 years, supporting services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.


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Apple Wins Approval for $1 Billion Data Center in Ireland

Apple has won approval to build a $1 billion data center in the west of Ireland, successfully fending off an environmental legal challenge brought by local residents (via Reuters).

Ireland's High Court on Thursday ruled that the proposed data center in Galway county, planned by Apple since February 2015, could proceed despite locals' various environmental concerns for the area if Apple successfully built the facility.


The residents against Apple attempted to halt construction last November by claiming that the permission it was granted by independent planning body An Bord Pleanála was invalid.

They alleged that An Bord Pleanála hadn't performed a proper environmental impact assessment of the proposed data center at Derrydonnell. Apple successfully asked the High Court to fast-track the case, and today's approval will likely bring the legal proceedings to an end.

When Apple announced the Irish data center in 2015, it also announced one for Denmark. That center is expected to begin operations later this year.


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