Apple's iCloud to run on Microsoft and Amazon's servers

Apple made a big splash earlier this year when it announced its plans to launch iCloud. The streaming file, audio and video service is currently in beta testing and should launch to the public later this year. Now a report from The Register reveals via unnamed sources that iCloud's hosting duties are being handled jointly by two of Apple's biggest rivals. One is Microsoft via its Azure platform while the other is Amazon via its Amazon Web Services (AWS) business.

The story claims that Apple's agreement with the two companies also keeps them from talking publicly about this partnership. It also claims that Apple made this decision to outsource iCloud's hosting features because it wanted to concentrate on "building great consumer experiences". Microsoft and Amazon will share hosting duties for iCloud, in part because Apple doesn't want to rely on just one company for its server needs. The iCloud agreement with Apple could potentially be a big one for Microsoft. It launched its Azure cloud service in February 2010 and has been  trying to show other businesses that it can handle their cloud computing needs.

It's possible that Apple's deal with Microsoft and Amazon may just be a temporary one in order to get iCloud launched as soon as possible. Apple recently completed construction of a massive server facility in Maiden, North Carolina. The 500,000 square foot building, which reportedly cost Apple $500 million, will be used to host iCloud-based services in the future.

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Pedro Roque said,
Can you imagine the headline if Microst did this?

People keep talking about Microsoft not "getting" the cloud. What abou Apple? Are they doomed?

? Microsoft was late on many areas. But not at the cloud.

ahhell said,
Huh? Does not compute.

Microsoft has a massive presense in the cloud, and still some tech press and bloggers act like they are completly absent from the cloud.

Apple as almost zero presense in the cloud, and noone seems to care.

Just sayn'

Pedro Roque said,

Microsoft has a massive presense in the cloud, and still some tech press and bloggers act like they are completly absent from the cloud.

Apple as almost zero presense in the cloud, and noone seems to care.

Just sayn'

Agreed. And Apple is treated like they're a huge driving force in cloud technologies...

This is normal business practice and sensible. As mentioned above this will be for redundancy, backup, and global access nodes.

You don't serve global content out of one DC. That is the primary storage location, MS and Amazon will be edge nodes/reflectors whatever you want to call them.

Septimus said,
This is normal business practice and sensible. As mentioned above this will be for redundancy, backup, and global access nodes.

You don't serve global content out of one DC. That is the primary storage location, MS and Amazon will be edge nodes/reflectors whatever you want to call them.

Yes but it is still funny that Apple services are in some way running on Windows. Windows Azure this is.

I do not believe this story. Apple has built huge data canters for iCloud. There's absolutely no reason why they would outsource to competitors.

patseguin said,
I do not believe this story. Apple has built huge data canters for iCloud. There's absolutely no reason why they would outsource to competitors.

_A_ huge datacenter. The core. It could have multiple bundled 100Gbit/s waves available yet that would not make up for latency in Australia, Hong Kong or Berlin. Why would they invest in building their own CDN when a virtualised, already deployed one is available? Why do you think they use Akamai for iTunes?

patseguin said,
I do not believe this story. Apple has built huge data canters for iCloud. There's absolutely no reason why they would outsource to competitors.

1) Redundancy
2) Apple's still building their data centers
3) Redundancy

Septimus said,

_A_ huge datacenter. The core. It could have multiple bundled 100Gbit/s waves available yet that would not make up for latency in Australia, Hong Kong or Berlin. Why would they invest in building their own CDN when a virtualised, already deployed one is available? Why do you think they use Akamai for iTunes?

+1

KingCrimson said,
This is a big humiliation for Apple fanboys.

No, it isn't. MS and Amazon are in the SP market. Apple have bought a service. Do you think that because Google buy bandwidth and fibre from where I work that we are somehow better? No. It's a service!

Septimus said,

No, it isn't. MS and Amazon are in the SP market. Apple have bought a service. Do you think that because Google buy bandwidth and fibre from where I work that we are somehow better? No. It's a service!

Apple is selling a product called iCloud, hosted on someone else's cloud. You don't see a problem with that?

Pedro Roque said,

Apple is selling a product called iCloud, hosted on someone else's cloud. You don't see a problem with that?

I'm going to start buying a bunch of McDonalds hamburgers and selling them at my own fast food restaurant.

Pedro Roque said,

Apple is selling a product called iCloud, hosted on someone else's cloud. You don't see a problem with that?

Agreed, but they are developing the services that connect to their other products... It isn't without any work. They just don't have the cloud technologies that Microsoft and Amazon have and want it to work...

Enron said,

I'm going to start buying a bunch of McDonalds hamburgers and selling them at my own fast food restaurant.


I think the comparison you're actually looking for would be to buy McDonalds grills and then use them to make your own burgers.

Apple built a data center in the U.S. Accessing these servers from other countries will be slow and cumbersome. They haven't built a CDN and that is why they are using Microsoft and Amazon. Its not temporary, this is the solution.

vcfan said,
Apple built a data center in the U.S. Accessing these servers from other countries will be slow and cumbersome. They haven't built a CDN and that is why they are using Microsoft and Amazon. Its not temporary, this is the solution.

I don't think that it is a real problem (excluding latency problem that it is insignificant for this work).

I don't see what the big deal is. As far as I know Apple doesn't have any technology that even comes close to the solutions Microsoft and Amazon have put together for cloud services... At the end of the day Apple looks bad if it doesn't work. Not whoever's services they're using... It's not worth the risk to try to use an untested and most likely cobbled together solution just because it was developed inhouse...

M_Lyons10 said,
I don't see what the big deal is. As far as I know Apple doesn't have any technology that even comes close to the solutions Microsoft and Amazon have put together for cloud services... At the end of the day Apple looks bad if it doesn't work. Not whoever's services they're using... It's not worth the risk to try to use an untested and most likely cobbled together solution just because it was developed inhouse...

Because they dropped the XServer line of products.

Hmm, so Apple is charging you more money to use Windows Azure and Amazon services.
*Has an epiphany...*
Why not just pay to use Windows Azure?

PlogCF said,
Hmm, so Apple is charging you more money to use Windows Azure and Amazon services.
*Has an epiphany...*
Why not just pay to use Windows Azure?

Hahaha. +1

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