Apple’s push to build a stronger cloud infrastructure combines two initiatives: Building out a faster network and upgrading data centers. While Apple hasn’t disclosed total costs, investments will run into the billions. Apple put $1 billion into data centers last year, according to Analysys, which pegged it as the seventh-largest cloud infrastructure spender in 2014.
Apple wants to own pipes linking its four large U.S. data centers and Internet hubs in certain cities to ensure fast, reliable delivery of content and services. By adding capacity and increasing efficiency, it seeks to handle more traffic on its own, without renting as much server space from cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft, said people with knowledge of the plan, who asked not to be identified because Apple isn’t discussing the moves publicly. They declined to name the cities involved.
The high-speed network comes as a critical time for the company, as it looks to further its expand its cloud services through music streaming and later in the year, TV streaming. Efficient content delivery would be necessary for both services, especially if Apple seeks to create a great user experience that is free from lags and other glitches.
Apple's efforts will focus on long-haul pipes connecting data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon to get content closer to Internet hubs in densely populated areas. Apple has been working on ways to send the data through fibers lines at hundreds of gigabits per second, according to sources. It has also been in talks with companies to design its own networking equipment, produced by third-party manufacturers.
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