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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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

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

Can you imagine the headline if Microst did this?

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

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...

I had always thought that they were using Amazon and Microsoft's servers for the beta testing of iCloud. Didn't think they would actually launch on them. What was that huge data center that they bought and were showing off last April all about?

Shadrack said,
I had always thought that they were using Amazon and Microsoft's servers for the beta testing of iCloud. Didn't think they would actually launch on them. What was that huge data center that they bought and were showing off last April all about?

I dunno, maybe the data center also runs Windows?

So that big data centre they even showed and said was for iCloud during the keynote was for what exactly?

Wouldn't surprise me if they use Amazon and Microsoft services to get some redundancy and possibly spread out the load a bit... But there is no way they won't be using their new data centre they even say is for iCloud...

But I thought Steve said at WWDC, "This is a picture of one of our data centres that we've built for iCloud." I got the impression that they were building their own data centres?

This is really really old news. This was discovered when they first turned on iCloud, and as everyone said then it's for redundancy and until they get the new data centre of the ground.

You also say:

"Apple has been silent about its specific plans for its new North Carolina facility."

Actually Jobs said in the keynote that it would be used for iCloud, and even showed pictures of the inside

True, but it's still relevant for the people who didn't know about Azure and Amazon. I also changed the last paragraph, because you're correct about the purpose of the new facility

And then when they have a major outage, they will blame Microsoft and/or Amazon, and be 'Forced' to migrate to their new and revolutionary data centre they just happen to have ready to go, where their **** doesn't smell, and everything is rosey. Then it is back to business as usual of pointlessly suing these companies because they are competitors... No wait... They will be suing them at the same time as hosting with them.

Sent from my iPad

Simon- said,
And then when they have a major outage, they will blame Microsoft and/or Amazon, and be 'Forced' to migrate to their new and revolutionary data centre they just happen to have ready to go, where their **** doesn't smell, and everything is rosey. Then it is back to business as usual of pointlessly suing these companies because they are competitors... No wait... They will be suing them at the same time as hosting with them.

Sent from my iPad


No, that's just how companies do business, they don't care about childish wars and fanboys, that's only in your head, kiddo. Grow up.

theh0g said,

No, that's just how companies do business, they don't care about childish wars and fanboys, that's only in your head, kiddo. Grow up.

This.