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Apple to pump $2bn into new global command data centre

Tue 3 Feb 2015

Apple has announced its plans to invest $2bn (£1.3bn) in converting its old sapphire glass plant in Mesa, Arizona into a central command data centre.

In collaboration with GT Advanced Technologies, Apple set up the 1.3mn sq.ft. facility in 2013 to manufacture its scratch-proof sapphire screens for its mobile device range. GT Advanced filed for bankruptcy in October of last year and closed the factory, after Apple’s newest iPhones did not include the company’s sapphire glass.

“This multibillion-dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made,” said Apple spokesperson Rachel Wolf in Monday’s statement. “We’re proud to continue investing in the US with a new data centre in Arizona, which will serve as a command centre for our global networks,” Apple added.

According to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Apple plans to stretch its $2bn investment over the next 10 years, with a promise to keep the facility up and running for 30 years.

The new conversion will house a data centre, as well as a command centre overseeing operations across Apple’s other networks and data centre sites. The Mesa command centre will manage traffic for services such as iCloud, iTunes, and Siri.

Like all of Apple’s data centres, the iPhone maker claims that the new site will be “powered by 100 per cent renewable energy” with the majority of power sourced from a local solar farm.

Gary Cook, senior IT sector analyst at Greenpeace congratulated Apple on its green push and called for other tech companies to follow suit.

“Apple remains the most aggressive among major IT companies in delivering on its commitments to be 100 percent renewable, and has shown the business community that solar is ready, here and now, to power our economy,” he said.

The new Arizona base is expected to create 600 engineering and construction posts following the lay-off of around 650 plant employees after the site’s closure in October.

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