Let’s face it, Apple plays it fairly close to the vest when it comes to inside looks at their data centers. Occasionally though, they do give journalists a peek behind the digital curtain.
The Arizona Republic was recently given a tour of Apple’s massive Mesa, Arizona data center.
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.
The data center, formerly the home of sapphire glass maker GT Advanced, fills 1.3 million square feet, and features long hallways filled with servers. Apple says the facility is its “global data command center,” and employs a 150 employees that work 10-hour shifts to keep the servers humming.
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.
Although Apple provided a tour of the facility, and The Arizona Republic was allowed to take photos inside the data center, the Cupertino firm would not provide specific information about how the center operates, due to security concerns.
The Mesa data center is just one of many that house data from Apple apps and services, including iCloud, Siri, and more.
Apple announced in 2014 that it had plans to repurpose the Mesa facility after acquiring it from GT Advanced when the sapphire glass maker went bankrupt. Hundreds of GT Advanced employees lost their jobs when the facility closed.
Soon after its initial announcement, Apple confirmed it would revamp the facility into a “command center” for Apple’s global data network. The data center has been operating since 2016.