Apple to produce data center cabinets at defunct GT Advanced sapphire plant

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple is repurposing GT Advanced's former sapphire plant in Mesa, Ariz., to produce cabinets for its other data centers, according to a notice published by the U.S. government on Monday.




Found in the Federal Register, the notice says that Apple sought approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to manufacture "finished products" in a zone exempt from customs duties. Specifically, the city of Mesa, filing on Apple's behalf, noted that Apple has "repurposed the site as a global data command center," which will "conduct high-tech manufacturing of finished data center cabinets for other data centers."

Mesa originally wrote to the FTZB in June, noting that Apple wanted to meet a "an aggressive production go-live timeline" in September 2016.

"The nature of the product is not for end users but for other global data centers what will be supported from the site," the city said.

A Business Insider source claimed that the servers Apple uses in its Oregon and North Carolina data centers are currently built and tested on-location, but that the work should soon be centralized in Mesa.

Before becoming a data center, the Mesa facility was originally a GT plant meant to supply sapphire for Apple products. GT wasn't able to meet Apple demands however and suddenly went bankrupt, ultimately landing the complex in Apple's hands. The latter began hiring in October and has said it will have at least 150 people on staff, eventually adding more including a dedicated executive.

A March 2016 report said that Apple was deeply invested in producing its own servers and networking hardware, concerned that tampering in third-party products -- for instance by spy agencies -- could create serious vulnerabilities.
brian green
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    fracfrac Posts: 431member
    Apple: "We...control our destiny. Thank you."
    baconstangcalibrian greenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 35
    How about Making  your own casing for Apple display too... so people wont have to flash the competition's logos on their monitors  where Apple products are used. ....
    edited January 9
  • Reply 3 of 35
    > "...concerned that tampering in third-party products -- for instance by spy agencies -- could create serious vulnerabilities."

    I'd like to think this concern is unjustified paranoia... but maybe not.

    daven
  • Reply 4 of 35
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 142member
    I wish they'd put in more money to fix the code that runs on the servers that are housed in said cabinets. (But, hey, the cabinets will surely have nice Jony Ive-approved chamfered corners, properly leaded fonts above the artisanal pixie tube indicator lamps, and Corinthian leather bezels, I'm sure.) 

    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 
    edited January 9 patchythepiratebobroo
  • Reply 5 of 35
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,527member
    How about Making  your own casing for Apple display too... so people wont have to flash the competition's logos on their monitors  where Apple products are used. ....
    Give it rest already...jesus!
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobrapscooter63StrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 35
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,455member
    > "...concerned that tampering in third-party products -- for instance by spy agencies -- could create serious vulnerabilities."

    I'd like to think this concern is unjustified paranoia... but maybe not.

    You should watch Blackhat and maybe you'll have a slightly different opinion. Read the linked article and check out the photo of NSA personnel opening an intercepted Cisco box. Could be fake but who knows? Cisco has been known to regularly have multiple vulnerabilities in their products so I don't mind one bit that Apple is making their own networking hardware. The interesting thing about this is that people are saying Apple is dropping their Airport line. I don't imagine the data centers have any large scale wireless but if you're going all in on major computer center networking then why not continue the Airport line as a hobby?

    As for servers, that's news to me (I just read the article mention in this article but it doesn't say much about servers) and I really wish they would spread the wealth and produce a reincarnation of the Xserve for the small business and even home market that's actually a server and not a repurposed desktop. If you have to create a production line for the number of servers these data centers take, then why not make a fun (thousand) extra?
  • Reply 7 of 35
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 473member
    Its alive.    Xserve lives
    welshdogpalomine
  • Reply 8 of 35
    mtbnut said:
    I wish they'd put in more money to fix the code that runs on the servers that are housed in said cabinets. (But, hey, the cabinets will surely have nice Jony Ive-approved chamfered corners, properly leaded fonts above the artisanal pixie tube indicator lamps, and Corinthian leather bezels, I'm sure.) 

    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 
    So they get a free manufacturing facility as collateral from their busted investment. Now you want them to somehow turn that asset into code debugging?

    Not to say your complaint isn't valid, but you pick an odd article on which to point it out.

    Is there some other problem you have with Apple that a free manufacturing facility might help solve?
    edited January 9 Rayz2016pscooter63watto_cobrajustadcomicsStrangeDaysjroy
  • Reply 9 of 35
    Well if Huawei electronic or software are anywhere near the servers or manufacturers of the present servers, they well should be wary!
    edited January 9 caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    > "...concerned that tampering in third-party products -- for instance by spy agencies -- could create serious vulnerabilities."

    I'd like to think this concern is unjustified paranoia... but maybe not.

    Not unjustified paranoia. I'll make a long story short.  Bought a Cisco switch for work from a company in New York.  The inner packaging indicated it started in Australia and shipped through Hong Kong before it got to me, which was weird. A colleague who is a kind of uptight IT auditor (great guy, but facts are facts) asked me how I knew it was genuine.  Based on the weirdness of the shipping, I answered that I don't know that it's genuine.  Everything looked just perfect, the switch, all the manuals, Cisco magnet pad thing, etc.  We never powered it on.  I contacted Cisco and eventually got to someone who asked for chassis serial numbers (on the logic board, not on the outside of the unit).  Cisco said they had no manufacturing record of it. It was fake. The FBI came over to my office. We wound up turning it over to them. 
    patchythepirateSpamSandwichcalipscooter63brian greenfastasleepwatto_cobrastantheman2old4funrobin huber
  • Reply 11 of 35
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,548member
    Does anybody know what processors and OS Apple uses on the servers they assemble for themselves?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    blastdoor said:
    Does anybody know what processors and OS Apple uses on the servers they assemble for themselves?
    They use Intel processors and Linux on most of their iCloud servers including the ones they source directly from ODM's...
    watto_cobrajustadcomics
  • Reply 13 of 35
    rob53 said:
    > "...concerned that tampering in third-party products -- for instance by spy agencies -- could create serious vulnerabilities."

    I'd like to think this concern is unjustified paranoia... but maybe not.

    You should watch Blackhat and maybe you'll have a slightly different opinion. Read the linked article and check out the photo of NSA personnel opening an intercepted Cisco box. Could be fake but who knows? Cisco has been known to regularly have multiple vulnerabilities in their products so I don't mind one bit that Apple is making their own networking hardware. The interesting thing about this is that people are saying Apple is dropping their Airport line. I don't imagine the data centers have any large scale wireless but if you're going all in on major computer center networking then why not continue the Airport line as a hobby?

    As for servers, that's news to me (I just read the article mention in this article but it doesn't say much about servers) and I really wish they would spread the wealth and produce a reincarnation of the Xserve for the small business and even home market that's actually a server and not a repurposed desktop. If you have to create a production line for the number of servers these data centers take, then why not make a fun (thousand) extra?
    If they turned iCloud into a developer platform then a small business iCloud server would be an amazing thing. Like Google for business but let us host our own data but use Apple's network to move it where it needs to go, as well, as keeping all the applications up to date.

    That to me would be the best of both worlds, give us all the function we wanted xServes for in the first place but with modern cloud syncing joy.
    rob53tmaybrian green2old4fun
  • Reply 14 of 35
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 142member
    polymnia said:
    mtbnut said:
    I wish they'd put in more money to fix the code that runs on the servers that are housed in said cabinets. (But, hey, the cabinets will surely have nice Jony Ive-approved chamfered corners, properly leaded fonts above the artisanal pixie tube indicator lamps, and Corinthian leather bezels, I'm sure.) 

    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 
    So they get a free manufacturing facility as collateral from their busted investment. Now you want them to somehow turn that asset into code debugging?

    Not to say your complaint isn't valid, but you pick an odd article on which to point it out.

    Is there some other problem you have with Apple that a free manufacturing facility might help solve?
    The factory is free. What will happen within it isn't. That money should be used for code debugging. I pay a monthly fee for iCloud, and it shouldn't be used to pay for bespoke cabinets. 
  • Reply 15 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,574member
    mtbnut said:
    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 

    On my iMac -
    Gmail - 1.5 seconds.
    iCloud Mail - Nearly instantaneous
    Photo library - Fired it up for the first time just now, it synced 2500 +/- photos in about a minute.

    Maybe it's not Apple that is so far behind, but maybe your Internet connection is?
    Rayz2016baconstangcalibestkeptsecrettmayericthehalfbeestarwarswatto_cobramacplusplusjustadcomics
  • Reply 16 of 35
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 1,451member
    sflocal said:
    mtbnut said:
    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 

    On my iMac -
    Gmail - 1.5 seconds.
    iCloud Mail - Nearly instantaneous
    Photo library - Fired it up for the first time just now, it synced 2500 +/- photos in about a minute.

    Maybe it's not Apple that is so far behind, but maybe your Internet connection is?
    Or maybe the problem is the first-generation candy iMac he's using. 
    watto_cobraStrangeDayspalominejroybadmonk
  • Reply 17 of 35
    mtbnut said:
    polymnia said:
    mtbnut said:
    I wish they'd put in more money to fix the code that runs on the servers that are housed in said cabinets. (But, hey, the cabinets will surely have nice Jony Ive-approved chamfered corners, properly leaded fonts above the artisanal pixie tube indicator lamps, and Corinthian leather bezels, I'm sure.) 

    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 
    So they get a free manufacturing facility as collateral from their busted investment. Now you want them to somehow turn that asset into code debugging?

    Not to say your complaint isn't valid, but you pick an odd article on which to point it out.

    Is there some other problem you have with Apple that a free manufacturing facility might help solve?
    The factory is free. What will happen within it isn't. That money should be used for code debugging. I pay a monthly fee for iCloud, and it shouldn't be used to pay for bespoke cabinets. 
    Bespoke cabinets? Sorry, where did the idea they are designing their own cabinets come from?
    Although I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't start contributing to Open Compute Project and using that sorts of rack and hardware.

    It reads more like they will be fitting all the hardware into the cabinets, wiring it up, testing then wrapping them up to send out to other data centres as they build out the capacity globally.  So that a small team of trained people all work in the same location and are the only ones who ever touch the equipment in the racks.

    Also sounds like they will have this centre as a back to base to call in to for maintenance and monitoring. Still, they could well station all staff working on server software and rumoured custom hardware here so all these teams can bounce off each other.
    edited January 9 watto_cobrajroy
  • Reply 18 of 35
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 126member
    GTAT...wasted my money in stock options.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Me too!
  • Reply 20 of 35
    tmaytmay Posts: 1,654member
    mattinoz said:
    mtbnut said:
    polymnia said:
    mtbnut said:
    I wish they'd put in more money to fix the code that runs on the servers that are housed in said cabinets. (But, hey, the cabinets will surely have nice Jony Ive-approved chamfered corners, properly leaded fonts above the artisanal pixie tube indicator lamps, and Corinthian leather bezels, I'm sure.) 

    Loading up Gmail takes about 5-9 seconds; iCloud Mail takes about 20-30 seconds. I don't even bother browsing my photo library using iCloud Photos; what a lethargic POS. Google Photos? A luxurious, snappy breeze to use. 

    Apple is so far behind in the cloud game it's embarrassing. 
    So they get a free manufacturing facility as collateral from their busted investment. Now you want them to somehow turn that asset into code debugging?

    Not to say your complaint isn't valid, but you pick an odd article on which to point it out.

    Is there some other problem you have with Apple that a free manufacturing facility might help solve?
    The factory is free. What will happen within it isn't. That money should be used for code debugging. I pay a monthly fee for iCloud, and it shouldn't be used to pay for bespoke cabinets. 
    Bespoke cabinets? Sorry, where did the idea they are designing their own cabinets come from?
    Although I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't start contributing to Open Compute Project and using that sorts of rack and hardware.

    It reads more like they will be fitting all the hardware into the cabinets, wiring it up, testing then wrapping them up to send out to other data centres as they build out the capacity globally.  So that a small team of trained people all work in the same location and are the only ones who ever touch the equipment in the racks.

    Also sounds like they will have this centre as a back to base to call in to for maintenance and monitoring. Still, they could well station all staff working on server software and rumoured custom hardware here so all these teams can bounce off each other.
    The story isn't definitive one way or the other, but cabinets would be trivial for Apple to design and fabricate, though it's even easier than that as Apple is in fact a member of Open Compute. A few pricey Amada's from Japan, and it's a done deal.

    http://www.amada.com/america/
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