Thursday, March 17, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Starts Using Google Cloud Platform

Kevin McLaughlin and Joseph Tsidulko (via MacRumors):

Since inking the Google deal late last year, Apple has also significantly reduced its reliance on Amazon Web Services, whose infrastructure it uses to run parts of iCloud and other services, said the sources, who all requested anonymity to protect their relationships with the vendors.

Apple has not abandoned AWS entirely and remains a customer, the sources said.

According to the sources, Google executives have told partners that Apple is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google Cloud Platform, although this couldn’t be independently confirmed. Also unclear is whether this range refers to an annual spending rate or a set amount of capacity.

Juli Bort (via Hacker News):

The secretive Apple has never publicly talked about being an AWS customer, but its use of it, as well as Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, has been widely reported since at least 2011 and was confirmed by Apple in a security document. Apple uses AWS and Azure for parts of its iCloud services, The New York Times reported.

Last month, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak estimated that Apple spends about $1 billion a year on AWS.

Mark Bergen:

For Apple, though, the deal might portend a move to cut costs ahead of creating its own cloud storage system. Google’s cloud team is in deal-making mode, aggressively seeking to bring in new customers to use its cloud services, and may have sweetened the deal — or been more willing than AWS and Azure to concede to Apple’s demands.

[…]

According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple already has a team working on this; it’s known internally as “McQueen,” as in Steve. It’s unclear if that project will materialize or when. But a source tells Re/code that the codename refers to Apple’s intent sometime in the next few years to break its reliance on all three outside cloud providers in favor of its own soup-to-nuts infrastructure.

I would be shocked if Apple hasn’t been planning a move to its own data centers since before iCloud was announced.

Previously: Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire.

Update (2016-03-23): Jordan Kahn:

Adding to a report from VentureBeat earlier this week, today’s report offers more details on what Apple is doing with “Project McQueen” that could see the company replacing third-party vendors with more of its own cloud infrastructure. The Information reports that Project McQueen is actually just one of at least six internal efforts at Apple including building its own servers, networking equipment, and “systems that could one day help developers to power their apps.”

[…]

And when it comes to building its own servers, the report claims that Apple is partly motivated by the fact that it believes the servers it receives from third-parties have been “intercepted during shipping, with additional chips and firmware added to them by unknown third parties in order to make them vulnerable to infiltration.”

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