Apple to build $2 billion green data center at failed GTAT sapphire plant

Posted:
in iCloud edited February 2015
The Arizona facilities associated with Apple's failed partnership with GT Advanced Technologies will be transformed into a new "global command" data center for the company employing 150 people full-time, thanks to a major $2 billion investment from the iPhone maker.


Apple Maiden NC Data Center


Racks of Apple's iCloud servers in Maiden, NC


The failed sapphire plant will now see $2 billion invested into the location over the next 10 years, the company announced on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The massive data center will serve as the control center for Apple's four other U.S.-based data operations.

"This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we've ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.," the company said in a statement. "Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm."

Construction on the new data center is expected to start by late 2016. In the meantime, the facility still holds furnaces purchased by GTAT and Apple, which are being liquidated as part of the sapphire maker's bankruptcy proceedings.

In building the new data center facility, Apple has pledged to build and finance 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, which will be enough to power more than 14,500 homes.

"This is a great day for Arizona, and we have moved rapidly to make this happen and take advantage of Apple's interest in our state," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. "Apple is by far one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Its decision to bring this new facility to Mesa is a huge win for Arizona and a high testament to our business-friendly climate and talented workforce."

Arizona


To power its iCloud services, Apple in recent years built massive data centers on both the east and west coast of the United States, with major facilities in Maiden, N.C., and Reno, Nev. Additional facilities are also located in Prineville, Ore., and Newark, Calif.

Apple's Oregon facility is powered by a hydroelectric plant and wind energy, the California facility utilizes wind energy, and its Nevada center relies on solar and geothermal energy. The North Carolina operation, meanwhile, utilizes the largest privately owned solar farm in the country.

After GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, it was unknown exactly what Apple planned to do with its Mesa, Ariz., plant or its local staff once current operations cease. The location is home to a 1.3-million-square-foot structure.

Mesa


Built off of a former solar panel factory, Apple's Mesa plant was announced in 2013 by then-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who touted Apple's presence as a major economic driver for the state. The company finished the build last summer, complete with renewable energy power supply agreements and its own eco-friendly power station.

Apple leased the facility to GT Advanced as part of a $578 million contract for sapphire material manufacturing. The deal went sour after GT was unable to meet what it characterized as "oppressive and burdensome" demands.

Shortly after its bankruptcy announcement, GT said it would axe more than 700 jobs from the Mesa project. Apple subsequently issued a public statement saying it is "focused on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT's surprising decision" and plans to "work with state and local officials" during the transition period.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I'm glad to see they are making lemonade.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    I just got a notification from one of my iOS apps stating "Apple announces $2B global command center in Arizona". I think that it was Yahoo Finance.

     

    My first thought was, wow, cool! That sounds awesome!

     

    "Global Command Center" sounds a lot better to me than "green data center".

  • Reply 3 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post



    "Global Command Center" sounds a lot better to me than "green data center".

     

    Same, they should really call it the Global Command Center.

     

    I envision something like this:

     

  • Reply 4 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

     

    Same, they should really call it the Global Command Center.

     

    I envision something like this:


     

    Exactly! Global Command Center sounds so much more commanding and impressive. Your pic is also similar to what I envision.

     

    When I think of green data center, I envision something like this:

     

  • Reply 5 of 40
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    "Global Command Center" sounds a lot better to me than "green data center".


    CNBC was the only one I could find reporting "Global Command Center" but we know you would never have anything to do with that news outlet.

     

    This article says US control center which makes more sense because of how redundant data centers are typically configured for backing up regional data in case of emergencies or natural disasters. Having a global command center doesn't make as much sense given the latency and distances that the data would have going across the ocean. Apple will most likely have similar redundant interconnected and regionally controlled centers on every continent eventually.

  • Reply 6 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,002member
    I guess when you throw off over $33 billion in cash in the latest quarter, allocating $2 billion over ten years for a new data center, is like spending pocket change on a memory stick for us.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    jj.yuanjj.yuan Posts: 212member

    Guess 2 of the 5 billion bond will go to this data center.

  • Reply 8 of 40
    What I'd like news on is who's picking up the sapphire job so I can have a sapphire screen on my 6s Plus.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    joninsd wrote: »
    What I'd like news on is who's picking up the sapphire job so I can have a sapphire screen on my 6s Plus.

    I know a table dancer named Sapphyre, perhaps she knows¡

    Seriously though, Apple does have a comprehensive, yet vague, list of their suppliers somewhere so perhaps there is a way to figure it out from that list.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    CNBC was the only one I could find reporting "Global Command Center" but we know you would never have anything to do with that news outlet.


     

    I just checked my notifications, and you're correct, it was CNBC reporting it, but it was coming from Yahoo! Finance. I don't watch the CNBC channel.

     

  • Reply 11 of 40
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    I just checked my notifications, and you're correct, it was CNBC reporting it...

    I think I can safely say that we're all shocked it wasn't from FOX News.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I think I can safely say that we're all shocked it wasn't from FOX News.



    I separate my news into different categories. There's financial type news, and then there's regular news. 

     

    I don't often watch financial news on TV, but when I do, you can bet your Mac that I'll be tuning into Fox Business instead of CNBC.

  • Reply 13 of 40
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    joninsd wrote: »
    What I'd like news on is who's picking up the sapphire job so I can have a sapphire screen on my 6s Plus.

    Here's some news for you then: Apple is unlikely to use sapphire, as it is currently implemented, on an entire phone exterior because, although it is insanely scratch-proof, it also shatters quite easily when dropped.
  • Reply 14 of 40

    Still sucks for the people who worked for GTAT unless they can be re-trained to work in a data center.

  • Reply 15 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    I'm glad to see they are making lemonade.



    I thought these data centers practically ran themselves? Guessing the large number of jobs are only for the construction phase?

  • Reply 16 of 40
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    I just got a notification from one of my iOS apps stating "Apple announces $2B global command center in Arizona". I think that it was Yahoo Finance.

     

    My first thought was, wow, cool! That sounds awesome!

     

    "Global Command Center" sounds a lot better to me than "green data center".


     

    Was wondering at first glance whether it was a GDI or Brotherhood of Nod unit. 

  • Reply 17 of 40
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member

    I'd like to see Apple lead the way with green energy in the form of  liquid-fluoride thorium reactor power plant.

  • Reply 18 of 40
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     



    I thought these data centers practically ran themselves? Guessing the large number of jobs are only for the construction phase?




    Another source mentioned 150 permanent jobs.

  • Reply 19 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

     

     

    Was wondering at first glance whether it was a GDI or Brotherhood of Nod unit. 




    C&C is awesome! I used to play C&C Generals many years ago. I still have it on one of my older Macs.

  • Reply 20 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

     

    I'd like to see Apple lead the way with green energy in the form of  liquid-fluoride thorium reactor power plant.




    I think these data centers use Bloom Energy boxes (basically fuel cells), in addition to solar or wind.

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