Apple is now Google's largest corporate customer for cloud storage

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 29
Apple has dramatically increased the amount of data that it stores on Google's cloud services, suggesting that its storage needs have grown faster than it can handle with its own servers.

Credit: Google
Credit: Google


As of May 2021, Apple was on track to spend about $300 million on Google cloud storage services in 2021, about a 50% increase year-over-year, a source told The Information.

Back in November 2020 alone, Apple increased the amount of user data it stored on Google services by about 470 petabytes, bringing the total amount of data it had on Google's cloud to more than 8 exabytes. For reference, a single exabyte is enough to record a video call that's more than 237,000 years long.

Apple now ranks as the largest corporate client of Google's cloud services. Within Google, Apple even has a name indicative at its size: Bigfoot. Back in 2018, Apple confirmed that it used Google for user data storage needs.

The data needs of Apple also far eclipse any other Google customer. Apple's 470-petabyte increase in November was about the same as the total amount of storage used by Google's second largest customer, TikTok maker ByteDance.

Apple also appears to be getting a great deal for Google cloud storage. According to cost calculators on Google's website, storing 8 exabytes of data costs about $218 million per month. Apple, again, pays Google about $300 million per year storing the same amount.

It isn't clear why Apple's storage on Google cloud services has increased so dramatically. However, the purchase suggests that either it is more cost-effective for Apple to buy storage than it is to build out new capacity, or Apple has grown so big so quickly that it couldn't source, build, and maintain the first-party servers in a timely fashion that is needed to store the data.

After Apple and ByteDance, Spotify was Google's third largest customer with about 460 petabytes of data, Twitter came in fourth with 315 petabytes, and Snapchat ranked third with about 275 petabytes.

Apple stores user iCloud data on both Amazon Web Services and Google's cloud. That data is encrypted by Apple, meaning that neither Amazon nor Google can obtain the the customer's iCloud information.

Although AWS still accounts for a lion's share of the total cloud storage market, Google has carved out a niche for itself. Apple, for example, uses a form of Google cloud storage known as object storage, which is designed to handle data needs like audio and video files, as well as documents.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,523member
    As of May 2021, Apple was on track to spend about $300 million on Google cloud storage services in 2021
    Does anyone have a list of all the services Apple pays Google for annually? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,477member
    Not a bad deal when considering that Google pays Apple $Billions to be the default search engine on Apple products.
    BeatsdavgregStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,734member
    I seem to remember some years ago Apple was trying to move off of outside storage and bring everything in house. 


    BeatsGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,670member
    DAalseth said:
    I seem to remember some years ago Apple was trying to move off of outside storage and bring everything in house. 


    Not their code speciality. 

    Apple Data must be huge, I mean there 1 billion devices uploading every day,. 
    edited June 29 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    GG1GG1 Posts: 452member
    Don't Apple have several data centres around the world, including a few in the US (AZ, NC)? I guess Apple outgrew them, or it's more cost efficient to have a third party (Google) handle the ever-increasing hardware needs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    I wish Apple offered iCloud sizes bigger than 2TB. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    lkrupp said:
    Not a bad deal when considering that Google pays Apple $Billions to be the default search engine on Apple products.
    No one knows what Google pays Apple. It's all "edumacated" guesses, but perhaps Apple and Google are giving each other discounts, high-level bartering. 
    edited June 29 chemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 18
    sigma902sigma902 Posts: 11member
    My ideas for sudden growth in past months
    - lossless & spatial Music
    - Apple TV+ library expansion
    - Xcloud coming up
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,734member
    I wish Apple offered iCloud sizes bigger than 2TB. 
    Oddly enough I want the opposite. I have no need for 2TB, but I’m soon going to outgrow 200GB. I want a tier in the middle somewhere.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,592member
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    Not a bad deal when considering that Google pays Apple $Billions to be the default search engine on Apple products.
    No one knows what Google pays Apple. It's all "edumacated" guesses, but perhaps Apple and Google are giving each other discounts, high-level bartering. 
    I thought it was a line item on Apple's services revenue reporting? My understanding is it's not a set lump sum, but is based on referrals, tallied up using whatever procurement agreement they have, and then that's the total as seen in the Apple financials reporting. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    Not a bad deal when considering that Google pays Apple $Billions to be the default search engine on Apple products.
    No one knows what Google pays Apple. It's all "edumacated" guesses, but perhaps Apple and Google are giving each other discounts, high-level bartering. 
    I thought it was a line item on Apple's services revenue reporting? My understanding is it's not a set lump sum, but is based on referrals, tallied up using whatever procurement agreement they have, and then that's the total as seen in the Apple financials reporting. 
    Not that I'm aware of, but could you point me to it if it actually is reported as a "line item"?
  • Reply 12 of 18
    OctoMonkeyOctoMonkey Posts: 217member
    DAalseth said:
    I wish Apple offered iCloud sizes bigger than 2TB. 
    Oddly enough I want the opposite. I have no need for 2TB, but I’m soon going to outgrow 200GB. I want a tier in the middle somewhere.
    I also have no need for 2TB - I still have 4.8GB of my free 5GB available!  That said, it really makes no sense to not offer more storage at a commensurately higher price.  To my thinking, there should be tiers something like: 100GB, 200GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 5TB, 10TB and so on.  I somebody wants to pay for 100TB, why not?  Perhaps it is a contractual obligation with Google.

    My biggest take from this is question why Apple is paying anybody for this service.  Apple could simply build some server farms and be done paying anybody else.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    DAalseth said:
    I wish Apple offered iCloud sizes bigger than 2TB. 
    Oddly enough I want the opposite. I have no need for 2TB, but I’m soon going to outgrow 200GB. I want a tier in the middle somewhere.
    I also have no need for 2TB - I still have 4.8GB of my free 5GB available!  That said, it really makes no sense to not offer more storage at a commensurately higher price.  To my thinking, there should be tiers something like: 100GB, 200GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 5TB, 10TB and so on.  I somebody wants to pay for 100TB, why not?  Perhaps it is a contractual obligation with Google.

    My biggest take from this is question why Apple is paying anybody for this service.  Apple could simply build some server farms and be done paying anybody else.
    I have a 2TB cloud account now and using a little over 1TB. I could trim how much I backup and probably do with 1TB, but there's extra benefits to the 2TB including 10% rebate on any gear I buy from their store and various free perks every few months. Plus I pay by the year and not the month, getting the equivalent of two months no charge.

    Considering the discounts alone the 2TB account ends up free. 
  • Reply 14 of 18
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,692member
    I wish Apple offered iCloud sizes bigger than 2TB. 
    They do:
    If you need more iCloud storage
    After you subscribe to Apple One, you can buy more iCloud storage if you need more. With both Apple One and an iCloud storage plan, you can have up to 4TB of total iCloud storage. 



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,692member

    My biggest take from this is question why Apple is paying anybody for this service.  Apple could simply build some server farms and be done paying anybody else.
    "simply" & "done paying anybody else" = you have no idea the scale of these operations or the effort and costs involved.

    FTFA:
    It isn't clear why Apple's storage on Google cloud services has increased so dramatically. However, the purchase suggests that either it is more cost-effective for Apple to buy storage than it is to build out new capacity, or Apple has grown so big so quickly that it couldn't source, build, and maintain the first-party servers in a timely fashion that is needed to store the data.


    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 113member
    Apple was going to build a huge data center in Ireland that was blocked by protesters, then canceled and now restarting permits.
    I think that halted a second unit in Iceland.

    Building a data center can take 5 years. Contracting with Google of AWS… just minutes!
    (It is also possible that they rent also space in Azure.)

    From a safety point of view, distributing all the data across several vendors can help protect the provision of services. It would be pretty rare that Apple/Google/AWS/Azure servers fail all at the same time.

    As someone pointed out, lossless, Apple TV+, and the increase in the use of FaceTime et als can explain the increased needs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 289member
    GG1 said:
    Don't Apple have several data centres around the world, including a few in the US (AZ, NC)? I guess Apple outgrew them, or it's more cost efficient to have a third party (Google) handle the ever-increasing hardware needs.
    It also reduces downtime by not having a single point of failure. Apple uses many more storage providers, as they should. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,302member
    DAalseth said:
    I seem to remember some years ago Apple was trying to move off of outside storage and bring everything in house. 



    That likely happened after Apple was implicated in the (never quite verified) story that AWS servers contained a Chinese spy chip.   At the time, Apple was running iCloud off of those servers -- and Tim Cook proclaimed that Apple security was never compromised -- which was a ridiculous claim for him to make since those servers were not under his control or observation.

    I trust Apple and I find it disturbing that they are using third party services for the storage I trust them with.
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