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Apple Invests €1.7 Billion in European Data Centres

It might sound obvious to say, but a data centre can be located anywhere in the world and you can still access the data on it. The internet is connected globally, meaning it doesn’t matter if the data centre is down the road or on the other side of the world. However, the location of a data centre does have various consequences – data stored further away will take longer to retrieve and each country will have their own laws and regulations that must be abided by.

In February, Apple announced that they would be spending €1.7 billion (around $1.85 billion) in building and maintaining new data centres in Ireland and Denmark. One of the standout things about these data centres is that they will be entirely powered by renewable energy. It can be difficult to find places where renewable power can be achieved to its full potential in order to power a data centre 24/7, but it seems Apple have achieved just that.

“We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We’re excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”

These new data centres will be used to power Apple’s online services, including the App Store, iTunes Store, Maps and Siri, according to the technology giant. Each data centre will measure 166,000 square metres and are expected to be open and operational in 2017.

Apple isn’t the only company to look to Europe as a great hub for data storage. As previously mentioned, storing data in Europe will mean that Apple can be closer to some of the third-party companies that they exchange information with, which will help reduce latency (the time it takes for data to travel across the network, which is vital for user applications).

Another key factor about being located in Europe is that the data centres will be protected by EU data laws. Many EU businesses and governments are asking for companies to begin locating their data storage within the borders, especially when it comes to personal user data, in order to better protect what is being stored.

Some companies have concerns about data centres located in other countries that don’t have as strong data regulation laws as others. For example, Salesforce announced in 2013 that it would be building data centres in the UK after finding that their lack of storage facilities within the country had hindered them winning vital government contracts.

There’s also an ongoing court case between the US government and Microsoft, with the former claiming that they should be allowed to access the personal data of their citizens even if it’s located on a data centre in another country. The other country in this case is Ireland and they have stood by Microsoft’s refusal to hand over the data, as have Apple and a number of other high profile technology companies.

It seems that Europe is going to become an increasingly popular place for data storage, especially with companies like Apple coming over and investing billions of Euros in building key data centres in the region.

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