back to article Apple's iCloud runs on Microsoft and Amazon services

Apple has selected Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's AWS to jointly host its iCloud service, The Reg has learned. We understand that Apple has barred Microsoft and Amazon from discussing what would otherwise be a high-profile deal, especially for Microsoft's fledgling Azure cloud service. But Reg sources close to Microsoft this …


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  1. Chris 3

    Fairly widely know...

    This was reported back in June. The original reportage at Infinite Apple seems to be down at the moment, but here's a report on that report.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll all end in tears ...

    ... you know it will.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd


      How we laughed...

      Does iCloud not cut the mustard?

      Cue the downvotes in 3 2 1 ...

  3. Nick Berry

    distraction technique

    Hmm. It feels like just at the cresendo of the dance the band will disappear to reveal they were secretly working on a different tune, leaving the dancers too tired to change step and keep up

  4. Raffiki
    Thumb Up

    Now that Just blew my mind

    Un-be frekking-leevable.

    To be frank apple seem to have thought this out and what a solution. I do think they will move it all inhouse after the have buit the Apple UFO.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Competition is good

      They're not putting all their eggs in one basket, plus they can expand capacity on one of the suppliers and contract the other if they raise their prices.

      1. Lance 3

        Maybe, maybe not

        Sue if one supplier ups their price, Apple could move exclusively to the other or just expand on the other. One happens when the other supplier raises their rates as well? Sometime having one supplier for a longterm deal is far cheaper than playing one off the other as long as the contract is well defined in terms of the SLA and what it means if the SLA is not met.

    2. SuccessCase

      Agreed it's thought out but not so unbelievable

      The rivalry between Apple and Microsft is at one level very real, but at another level much less than many fanbois suppose (not suggesting you are by virtue of that statement, a fanboy). As Steve Jobs once said when being interviewed together with Bill Gates, competing with Microsoft isn't some kind of zero sum game where for one to win the other has to lose.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are those figures right?

    Seriously? 112 containers each containing 224,000 servers? That's 25,088,000 servers. In each datacentre? How many datacentres worldwide? They must need a small army to support all those!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are those figures right?


      2000 servers per container - slightly more realistic.

      1. Aaron Guilmette

        How Microsoft Manages its Datacenter

        Two of my friends bear the title "Microsoft Datanceter Specialist," and have intimate knowledge of how their datacenters work. The Chicago datacenter has over 100,000 servers and is managed by just three full-time individuals using the System Center Suite (Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Configuration Manager, and Opalis--their datacenter automation platform). Eat their own dog food, they do.

  6. Gleb

    Oy, Wait a minute

    I seem to recall when this whole iCloud iThing iStarted there was an apple data-center abrewing also. Now, either that data-center is no where up to capacity, granted, or it got sacked or what. Where's my thorough reporting?

  7. Ilgaz

    Just another reason

    Just another reason for me to stay the hell out of Apple brand for my next computer. It became impossible to take them serious and I am one of the rare ones who could easily suggest xserve back in days it was G4. Why waste money for Apple computers? Let them come Windows 8 preinstalled too! The owner of xgrid and a UNIX 03 certifiable operating system going MS Azure really makes me drop my jaw. Do they even understand what cloud in its real meaning is?

    1. SuccessCase

      Do you really have a clue...

      the end user doesn't give a stuff ?

    2. Stuart Castle

      Just another reason?

      So, you only buy products/services from companies who only use their own products? You must must not buy a lot of products or services. Hell, even the mighty Microsoft used to use Macromedia/Adobe Director to design and test their User Interfaces, not to mention the fact that their is a staggering amount of Flash movies on their sites, considering they offer their own, quite capable, alternative (Silverlight).

      Why should Apple spend time and money developing their own cloud software and/or tweaking OSX to run on cloud servers when there are perfectly serviceable solutions already out there?

      1. Ilgaz

        Companies use their own products WHENEVER possible

        Besides user interface design and DTP, can you show a single example where Microsoft uses another operating system or solution?

        IBM, which is a true services company doesn't count anymore but they sure use AIX in their own systems of this scale.

        Apple is a UNIX operating system vendor and also owner of several large scale technologies.

        I am a true Apple customer, I use Apple since they switched to OS X and I sure know what is possible with Darwin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          The problem is that Apple took their server system out and shot it earlier in the year. They may still allow people to install the server software, but it's only really competing with the likes of SBS these days. They don't have a hardware platform to run their server software on and can't really run it on other platforms because that would really piss off their customers who want to run it on other platforms, but aren't allowed. They have no choice, in other words.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Keep telling yourself that...

          "I am a true Apple customer, I use Apple since they switched to OS X and I sure know what is possible with Darwin." Whatever. Doesn't make you any less wrong.

          FTR there are many here (including me), and elsewhere in the world that have been using Apple kit since the 1970's, doesn't make their (or my) opinions any more or less valid. There are also many here that have used Microsoft products since the 1970's too and the same applies to them.

          1. Ilgaz

            I meant iPhone users doesn't count

            People switched to Apple via iPhone or iPad doesn't really know/care the massively powerful operating system Apple hides from them in a good way.

            I know Darwin and besides couple of stupid changes (like giving up UFS instead of enhancing) and cosmetically forced virtualisation issues, it would have no problem to scale this big.

            Once upon a time, SJobs was also talking about the xserve and how huge it can scale,even with HFS+ based systems. Anyway, one more thumbs down for me I guess.

        3. fn0rd

          um, yeah just head over to net craft

 - linux

 - citrix netscaler

          Pretty sure when I did the same thing some years ago they were some BSD systems in there too.

        4. Stuart Castle


          "I am a true Apple customer, I use Apple since they switched to OS X and I sure know what is possible with Darwin"

          OK.. Well.. I've been using Apple on and off since they released System 7. Not as experienced as some guys on here, admittedly.

          I personally love OSX and will always recommend it if I can. However, the problem is that it is not and OS that has been widely proved to be reliable in data centres. Microsoft, for all their faults, has done a *lot* of work on running OSes in the kind of large scale deployments needed for datacentres.

          BTW, you may know what's possible with Darwin, but have you ever run Darwin on the number of computers needed to run iCloud?

  8. Patrick O'Reilly

    One Ring

    "Even if a cross-platform language like Java is used to bridge the gap, then tuning the software for both will mean additional cost and complexity."

    But I thought Java was 'write once, run anywhere'?

    1. Uncle Siggy


      Didn't Bilbo & Co. burn you trolls up?

    2. Ilgaz

      Runs anywhere but tuned is better

      Supposedly you can also code Android apps without owning a single device too. They should run fine. Why developers keep buying them for testing?

      Enterprise grade java does work but for such huge stuff, a little testing and tuning won't hurt anyone.

  9. Don Mitchell


    Sounds like a reasonable choice. Amazon certainly has the best service and expertise. Azure yet to prove itself on as big a scale, but the underlying new OS ("red dog") is an exciting project. Probably Dave Cutler's last opus.

  10. Sandman619o1


    It's too bad that Apple couldn't apply its knowledge & experience gained from iTunes to iCloud. Such a pity. That must also mean that their N C data center with all of its computers & expensive stuff, which Steve Jobs highlighted during his iCloud presentation is just going to turn to rust. Hmmm…

    1. Ilgaz

      They should put a small print

      Whenever they advertise iCloud, some 100 fps scroller should pass in 3 secs:

      "Alltough it carries Apple branding, it is actually Microsoft who provides the service with their famous stance on quality and reliability. We own a UNIX OS but we fired everyone who knows enterprise for hiring app store censoring interns so we can't eat our own dogfood."

    2. Si 1


      Weren't there rumours a while back that the Apple data centre was just a big empty building designed to scare the shit out of Google and make them think Apple were about to enter the search business?

  11. Abugida

    iTunes is an Internet service

    The iTunes Store/AppStore/iBookStore combo has been working very well for a long time, serving 100 million downloads per day now, handily outcompeting similar stores run by Google, Amazon and Microsoft. So I don't think this is an issue of Apple failing at server technology as several have suggested. This seems to be purely about scale. And who says that Apple never used data center partners like Akamai before?

  12. Christopher Edwards

    Private cloud

    The datacenter that Apple are building could run private a cloud, either Azure, or possibly AWS or both in conjunction or instead of the public cloud.

  13. mobileuser

    MSFT & AMZN achieve same status as a Chinese manufacturer

    In any commodity play, you don't want a sole supplier. With this deal, MSFT and AMZN are just as valuable as any other cheap h/w manufacturer selected by Apple.

  14. Tomtermite

    If iCloud is anything like iTunes

    Then it will be WebObjects - j2ee cross-platform web services.

  15. Your Retarded

    "Customers' data is being striped between [Azure and Amazon]"


    If they mean in a similar way to the kind of stripes as used in RAID - wouldn't this be a really bad idea?

    So if EITHER Azure or AWS have some problem, you are completely screwed and your iCloud data is useless.

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