iCloud uses Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure (for now)

While Apple readies its new Maiden, North Carolina data center for the incoming horde of iCloud users, those that are currently trying out the iCloud public beta may be unaware that their data is being routed through services provided by two major Apple competitors. Both provide cloud computing services, but they also compete with Apple in the mobile market.

A discovery made by Infinitely Apple showed that, for now, iCloud "[doesn't store] actual content. Rather, it simply manages links to uploaded content." A test conducted by sending pictures between two iPhones was logged. The log contained URLs to Windows Azure's BLOB (Binary Large Object) storage, which is used to store and receive raw data. The example procedure, as reported by Infinitely Apple, was as follows:

  • A user initiates a picture transfer
  • The device requests authorization from Apple's iCloud server
  • Following authorization, the server sends to the device a BLOB URL for storing the file on Azure's storage
  • The device connects to that URL and uploads the file there
  • The device reconnects to iCloud's server and reports a success

On other tests, use of Amazon's Web Services was also observed.

According to ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley, neither Apple nor Microsoft would comment on these observations. It is also not known whether this is a temporary measure put in place until the Maiden data center is in business.

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