Rumor: Apple's iCloud powered by Microsoft, Amazon servers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's upcoming iCloud service is rumored to rely on both Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's AWS for hosting, as the company has played to its strength of building a consumer-facing experience rather than becoming a cloud provider.



The Register reports that Apple has barred the two companies, which are also its competitors, from discussing the deal. The publication's sources have reportedly confirmed that iCloud will be hosted by Microsoft's Azure service and Amazon's AWS, with the data being striped between the two. None of the companies would comment on the rumor.



Apple may be hedging its bets with both Microsoft and Amazon in order to avoid any mishaps with the iCloud launch. Amazon has in recent months suffered a series of embarrassing outages that have shaken customer faith in its cloud services.



The Cupertino, Calif., company itself suffered a shaky start with its MobileMe cloud service in 2008. Then CEO Steve Jobs reportedly scolded the team responsible, chastising them for tarnishing Apple's reputation.



Jobs has promised that iCloud will avoid the company's previous mistakes--"It all just works," he said at the product's unveiling in June. The service will backup iOS devices and offer cloud-based storage solutions, services and media management.



According to the report, Microsoft leadership views the iCloud deal as a "validation of Azure." The Redmond, Wash., software giant has reportedly made significant efforts to prove to other developers that the service is "cool." Given Apple's strong brand recognition and its management's reputation for a "fanatical attitude to perfection."







One source characterized Apple as a "huge consumer brand, a great opportunity to get Azure under a very visible workload." Report author Gavin Clarke added that iCloud brings Azure "into a different league."



Apple is said to have outsourced the "plumbing" of iCloud because its "core competence lies in 'building great consumer experiences,' so it didn't make sense for Apple to become a cloud provider," according to Clarke.



Another cited reason for maintaining two providers is that Apple hopes they will be forced to keep up with each other on "reliability, new features, security, and price." The iPhone maker is looking to avoid becoming "hostage" to one supplier.



Apple will initially harness its three data centers for the iCloud launch, including a state-of-the-art new data center in Maiden, N.C., but the company anticipates needing further support as iCloud adoption ramps up. By comparison, Microsoft has built out at least 24 Azure data centers around the world.



Apple's reliance on Microsoft and Amazon is not an indication that the company is standing still when it comes to the cloud, though. In April, it brought on Kevin Timmons, Microsoft's data center chief, to help run its cloud initiatives.



Sources suggested that iCloud is running on "the full Azure service ? the Windows Azure compute and controller part and SQL Azure storage which hosts tables, queues and flat files." User data will reportedly be stored in multiple locations across the three companies' servers. As is to be expected, a multiple-provider hosting solution would come with its own set of challenges, as Apple may have to work across platforms, utilizing custom software to manage requests and keep track of data.



iCloud is due out this fall alongside iOS 5. Apple has been rigorously testing iCloud to ensure that it will run smoothly from day one. The company released its tenth pre-release test version of the service on Friday.
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Comments

  • jabohnjabohn Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    None of the comments would comment on the rumor.



    Proofreader needed!
  • shoozzshoozz Posts: 26member
    This shows how big Apple has become, they have outgrown their capability to serve their customer base, at least for now. But is also shows that Apple is big and smart enough to know when to seek help and that they are focused on the big picture i.e. the customer (and the profit that goes with it).
  • punkrocker27kapunkrocker27ka Posts: 32member
    irony
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    It is the right choice, they aren't so great at server side. But I don't think Microsoft should crow too much about it, if they indeed striped it on Amazon. It shows they don't trust either service completely. Or else it's for corporate strategic reasons.
  • malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Wisdom trumping ego.



    The best mistakes to learn from are those that others who have come before have made (e.g., Sony, MS).
  • tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Butt.... Butt.... What about the MacPro and its capabilities. Massive MacPro's in a massive building with massive power and massive Steve Smiling on them all. See ya at the Mother ship Steve.
  • rbryanhrbryanh Posts: 263member
    It's difficult to trust a company that doesn't use its own products, but putting a rider larger than a small child the back of the starved, neglected, ill-groomed, badly trained wreck OS X Server has become would as cruel to the horse as it would be dangerous for the child.



    Consequently, I don't fault Apple for buying competitors' server products, but I do despise them for not putting putting a gun to the head of their own along with the Xserve.



    Really? Have you seen the grotesque, crippled vivisection which is Lion Server? Oh the shame, the shame? If it had actual hooves the SPCA would have shut down Cupertino by now.
  • irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,397member
    Is it April again already?
  • ericdanoericdano Posts: 7member
    I think what the rumor is is that iCloud will work with Microsoft and Amazon in addition too. iCloud is not going to store much more than what Me.com does right now. Apple has been allowing people to register for an Apple account for a while. And I'd say a large portion of them already subscribe to me.com. Apple is also killing off some Sync services and iDisk, which will reduce the load on their systems somewhat.



    Net gain, when iCloud opens, they could probably run it without additional hardware. But what if iCloud took care of getting stuff for you from multiple cloud services. Now that would be awesome. You could have stuff on Microsoft, or Amazon, or maybe Google. And iCloud and your OS X/iOS device could just work with those without having to run a separate app. It was just all in iOS5. It would just go, through iCloud, and get the stuff from wherever for you.



    Now that would be what I think Apple is heading towards. I'd love to have my iOS device just KNOW that I have a datafile in DropBox, or something was changed on my Amazon service and it just goes and gets it and I don't have to do anything.



    That would make more sense. I don't see Apple ever just handing something off to another company, especially customer data. It would be like Apple saying that it couldn't handle the backend of running iTunes and letting Microsoft run it.



    It just won't happen.
  • dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    I can't imagine this being the case. If it's one thing that Apple has demonstrated in the past decade it's that they don't want to be beholden to anyone for strategic software or services. Look at what happened with waiting for Flash to mature in the mobile space, or all the hoops Apple still has to jump through for content and carrier support.



    iCloud might not be running on Lion Server, although the underlying parts of OS X should be robust enough to tweak for a stripped-down hosting platform. (What do they use for the iTunes store? I honestly don't know, but that should be as good a stress-test as anything.) Setting up software for their own internal use is not the same as releasing a consumer-facing product; they know all their own use-cases and can tune things precisely for their own use with no concern for supporting others.
  • artdecodalekartdecodalek Posts: 50member
    So Apple built their massive new data center for what, exactly? Oh yeah, for hosting iCloud. Still, I can hardly blame Microsoft and Amazon for making a ludicrous attempt to grab some glory on their way out of the limelight. Why AppleInsider is reporting this bullshit is another question.
  • wookie01wookie01 Posts: 20member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Is it April again already?



    My thoughts exactly, sounds like BS to me.

    Anyway we won't have to wait long to find out.
  • povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    I don't have problem with this. If it's good then there is no reason not to use it.
  • djsherlydjsherly Posts: 872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ArtDecoDalek View Post


    So Apple built their massive new data center for what, exactly? Oh yeah, for hosting iCloud. Still, I can hardly blame Microsoft and Amazon for making a ludicrous attempt to grab some glory on their way out of the limelight. Why AppleInsider is reporting this bullshit is another question.



    What are they filling the racks with? Not Xserve, at a guess.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    It is the right choice, they aren't so great at server side. But I don't think Microsoft should crow too much about it, if they indeed striped it on Amazon. It shows they don't trust either service completely. Or else it's for corporate strategic reasons.



    this is not an unusual arrangement. True DR requires it.
  • peteropetero Posts: 94member
    What? You mean iCloud isn't striping to Time Machine??
  • tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Apple can and will if it wants to.
  • naclnacl Posts: 12member
    LOL no.



    What is it's new data center for then?



    This got to be the dumbest rumor ever. To rely on your competitors to provide what will be a core service is suicide.



    You guys desperate for hits or something? What's with the inaccurate/BS articles lately?
  • n42n42 Posts: 34member
    Hahahahah



    That's all I have to say to this.
  • hagarhagar Posts: 49member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ericdano View Post


    I think what the rumor is is that iCloud will work with Microsoft and Amazon in addition too. iCloud is not going to store much more than what Me.com does right now. Apple has been allowing people to register for an Apple account for a while. And I'd say a large portion of them already subscribe to me.com. Apple is also killing off some Sync services and iDisk, which will reduce the load on their systems somewhat.



    Net gain, when iCloud opens, they could probably run it without additional hardware. But what if iCloud took care of getting stuff for you from multiple cloud services. Now that would be awesome. You could have stuff on Microsoft, or Amazon, or maybe Google. And iCloud and your OS X/iOS device could just work with those without having to run a separate app. It was just all in iOS5. It would just go, through iCloud, and get the stuff from wherever for you.



    Now that would be what I think Apple is heading towards. I'd love to have my iOS device just KNOW that I have a datafile in DropBox, or something was changed on my Amazon service and it just goes and gets it and I don't have to do anything.



    That would make more sense. I don't see Apple ever just handing something off to another company, especially customer data. It would be like Apple saying that it couldn't handle the backend of running iTunes and letting Microsoft run it.



    It just won't happen.



    This must be one of the weirdest comments I have read in a while. I don't think you grasp what iCloud is about. The server load of iCloud is going to massive. MASSIVE! Every picture made by the millions of iOS users will be instantaneously uploaded (and pushed to their other iOS devices), all these users can backup their entire iOS device into the cloud, iWork in the cloud, users can upload their non-iTunes music, etc etc etc. Given the train wreck iDisk is, it would not be a surprise if they will rely on third party servers.



    And iCloud getting stuff from other cloud services? Are you high?
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,483member
    As others have said why did they build that data center. Now maybe they have an intention here to use these services as a backup of sorts or maybe to serve far flung parts of the world. I just dont see Apple giving up something as critical as iCloud completely to third parties.



    I suspect the article is based on incomplete info. That is the story is partly warped due to incomplete data.
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