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Apple wants to use GT Advanced's former sapphire plant to produce hardware that will be used within its U.S. data centers, according to a notification published by the Federal Register and shared by Business Insider.

Apple is seeking approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to create "finished products and foreign status materials/components" in the factory. Specifically, Apple wants to create "finished server assembly cabinets" and needs permission to use materials sourced from abroad.

gtadvancedlocation-800x450.jpg
Image via AZCentral

According to the filing, the data center cabinets will be used for "other global data centers." A person with knowledge of Apple's data centers spoke to Business Insider and said Apple's data center server production will be consolidated in Mesa, Arizona.

Servers for Apple's Oregon and North Carolina data centers are currently built and tested on-site, and the same likely goes for other global data center locations. With the Mesa factory, Apple will build and configure all U.S. servers in Arizona and ship them to Oregon and North Carolina.

Apple originally purchased the Mesa, Arizona factory for sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced, but after the sapphire-making company failed to produce sapphire up to Apple's standards and went bankrupt, Apple was left with an empty facility.

Apple announced plans to repurpose the sapphire plant in 2014, and is said to be investing $2 billion to turn it into a "global command center" for Apple's data network. At 1.3 million square feet, the facility is large enough to serve as both a data center and a manufacturing plant for data center equipment.

Article Link: Apple to Use Repurposed Mesa, Arizona Factory to Manufacture Data Center Cabinets
 

flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,578
2,454
United States
I imagine Apple is not using any servers that resemble their publicly available computers.

If they have a use for rack mounting, they either have a totally custom system resembling the Xserve, or they're using 3rd party machines (like HP, Dell, etc.).

Once you get into the Enterprise market, Dell does have some impressive equipment.
 

captain cadet

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2012
417
648
I’d love to get a glimpse inside Apple’s data centers to see what sort of equipment they’re running!
From someone who builds servers for large companies he said it's around this spec:
OS: Linux variant
HP Hardware that runs intel Xeon chips that with a built in HDD of around 100gb for OS and local tasks and around 128 GB of ram
Large HDD RAID central with tape back ups being done automatically
Also include specific encryption computers
 

Bart Kela

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Oct 12, 2016
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Just curious did Apple use Xserves for their data center needs? Or has it always been other OEMS?
My memory is a bit faded, but if I recall correctly, Apple's corporate website used to hosted on Xserves behind load-balancing equipment. That was many years ago, not in the recent iTunes Music Store/App Store/Apple Store era.

It is likely that Apple ran third-party hardware concurrently for other purposes, not just at data centers but also for internal purposes.

Apple has allegedly been a longtime user of Oracle products which means they are running third-party equipment. It's not like a Fortune 100 company is going to be running QuickBooks on two-year-old MacPro.

My guess is that their on-campus WiFi isn't being hosted on AirPort Extremes either. They are likely using an enterprise solution.

In any given Apple data center, my guess is that there are 2-3 system vendors depending on the age of the components and that Apple IT periodically switches vendors to mitigate risk, encourage cost competition, and access whatever is the ideal technology at the purchasing timeframe.
 

Nuvi

macrumors 65816
Feb 7, 2008
1,079
755
Not what Donald Trump had in mind...

Well that's what your going to get anyway. Servers put together from foreign parts for Apple's own server farms. If Apple doesn't start manufacturing high end enterprise products then you can forget any meaningful US manufacturing.
 

groove-agent

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2006
1,358
1,169
Wasnt Black Mesa in Arizona? No wonder no desktops in 2016, theyve been working in an interdimensional portal to an alien world! HL joke.
 

jimac

macrumors member
Dec 18, 2005
35
31
How difficult would it be for Apple to set up a custom-Macintosh shop in a corner of their Mesa plant?

All of Apple's devices run on apps built on Xcode, which runs only on Macintosh computers. Obviously every Mac developer would welcome more powerful Mac hardware to build their software on! As would users of other "Pro" Mac software. Movie studios and record producers come to mind, and even graphic and web designers. Not to mention gamers who are always demanding the latest and greatest components.

Apple probably has stacks of the best consumer towers ever built in a warehouse somewhere.

Obviously, as an Apple operation, this little shop would only use hardware that is Apple-approved for macOS, but as cutting edge hardware fanatics they might expand that, testing the latest and prototype hardware, which could push Apple in new directions. I'm sure Apple already has similar operations building specialized computers for internal development, but many users and even corporate clients would welcome their own leading edge custom Apple machines!

Does anyone remember Apple's "G4 Tanks" commercial? Back when Apple built THE most powerful consumer machines?

 

Bart Kela

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My guess is that Apple has little interest in forking their operating system tree to support a handful of customized configurations. Their greater interest is to get everyone on the latest publicly-released version of the operating system.

We have seen this in macOS and iOS. Apple wants people to run the latest version of their software on their recent hardware. On macOS, they only provide critical security updates for the previous version. For iOS they basically stop work on the previous version. tvOS doesn't even run on the previous Apple TV hardware.

Nothing that Apple does publicly indicates any interest in them running weird configurations for one-off situations.

The credible situations that call for Apple to fork their software tree is for developing a new product line, like the iPad or the Intel-based Macintosh. Those branch changes were eventually integrated back into the main trees, today they are the same.
 
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Fall Under Cerulean Kites

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2016
272
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It is likely that Apple ran third-party hardware concurrently for other purposes, not just at data centers but also for internal purposes.

Apple has allegedly been a longtime user of Oracle products which means they are running third-party equipment. It's not like a Fortune 100 company is going to be running QuickBooks on two-year-old MacPro.

My guess is that their on-campus WiFi isn't being hosted on AirPort Extremes either. They are likely using an enterprise solution.

THIS.

Does anyone believe that Mini should deliver new cars to dealerships with trailers pulled by Cooper Countryman editions?

Or that Craftsman must use Sears branded hammers and wrenches to make their tools? Nope.
 
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