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Apple Confirms It Uses Google's Cloud For iCloud Services (cnbc.com) 46

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it's relying on Google's public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services. The disclosure is fresh evidence that Google's cloud has been picking up usage as it looks to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business. Some media outlets reported on Google's iCloud win in 2016, but Apple never provided confirmation. Apple periodically publishes new versions of a PDF called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft's Azure. But in the latest version, the Microsoft Azure reference is gone, and in its place is Google Cloud Platform. Before the January update, Apple most recently updated the iOS Security Guide in March. The latest update doesn't indicate whether Apple is using any Google cloud services other than core storage of "objects" like photos and videos. The document also doesn't make it clear when Apple started storing data in Google's cloud.
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Apple Confirms It Uses Google's Cloud For iCloud Services

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  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @04:48PM (#56190331)

    The article doesn't seem to break it out, but I recall what Apple has been doing with storage is that they store encrypted data on third party clouds (like AWS / Google / Azure), but all of the metadata aspects are held on Apple servers so they maintain control.

  • Should I be Shocked that Rivals in the Phone Market are being partners in an other area?

    Actually compared to Google and Amazon, Apple tends to play nice in areas they are not competing in, and fiercely in areas which they are.
    We See this with Apple and Google, Apple and Samsung...

    While Apple being one of the worlds largest companies, it could go on its own, and play games with its rivals and mess up other areas. But they tend to play relatively nice.

  • by mbourgon ( 186257 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @05:07PM (#56190467) Homepage

    Since they've been building datacenters for over 5 years, what are they using them for? Even the 500k square foot one in North Carolina was already overkill, more so if they're just holding metadata.

    Fun task: on Windows, rip a new CD with iTunes, preferably something rare. Start Resource Monitor, go to Network, TCP Connections, Search for iTunes. Was trying to find a different network hog this weekend and saw iTunes uploading to AWS, which made no sense.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
    • probably accessing gracenote to match song names to files

      apple was also looking at building out its own CDN for itunes data distribution. movies and music and app store

    • Was trying to find a different network hog this weekend and saw iTunes uploading to AWS, which made no sense.

      It makes sense to me. There are a number of reasons that could be happening. Just off the top of my head:
      * If you have the "Genius" feature enabled (it's on by default), it's sending metadata back to Apple regarding the new songs you've added to your library so that it can improve and personalize the recommendations it makes for you. Given that many of iCloud's services are (and have been) hosted via AWS, it makes sense that you'd see a connection to them.

      * It could be asking Gracenote for the CD so that it

  • At its core SPECTRE flaw allows any process in a machine to access and read memory of any other process. Technically two processes served by the same physical server in the cloud can read each other's memory. Users will find it very difficult to control the server they will be hosted in, they may not be able to target any particular "enemy".

    But, Cloud server has total control over ALL the processes. Amazon, Azure and Google would be able to read the memory of ALL the processes they host. Usually there is n

    • I can't see something like Spectre being an issue for the data hosted on 3rd party services. It's all stored as blobs of encrypted data. The keys to decrypt the data are stored on Apple-owned infrastructure, as are all the bits of metadata that determines what the data is for. Nowhere on AWS, Azure or Google Cloud are the keys to the encrypted data stored, just chunks of what would look like pure random noise to anyone else but Apple.
      Apple may use these third-party services but it doesn't mean that they hav

      • Apple storing data there is not the issue.

        People don't just store data in the cloud. They process them there. The process has unencrypted plain data in memory.

        For example Diebold runs a full supply chain inventory managemen forecast run every night. Based on orders of various models with various options in hand, promised delivery schedules, expected upgrades etc etc. When it was running it in house, using Baan, using test data it took 3 hours. When they rolled it into production, using actual data, it di

        • Yes, the difference being is that in Apple's case the computers with the keys and the metadata - the only systems that can make sense of the encrypted blobs stored with Google et al. are all 100% under Apple's control. They're not on shared hosting, they're not VPSs in someone else's datacenter. They hold the keys to the kingdom and they're owned and operated by Apple.
          The only things that are stored on Google (and AWS and Azure) are encrypted blobs of data. These blobs are likely wrapped in a TLS session wh

  • by foxalopex ( 522681 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @05:58PM (#56190767)

    At the end of the day no one company is a jack of all trades. If Google has a solid / reliable data storage infrastructure that can be had for a good price then why not? IBM at one point for example nearly self-destructed because they were a monolithic company who insisted that you had to only use their own products (Token Ring, Lotus Notes) even thou they had their massive downsides. Eventually the company broke up into micro-companies under the same name and were allowed to buy the most cost effective products instead of IBM only. I'm sure some folks at Google for example use Windows products despite it being from a competitor (Microsoft).

    • I'm sure some folks at Google for example use Windows products despite it being from a competitor (Microsoft).

      Very, very few. OTOH, MacBooks are everywhere.

  • So unlimited photo storage and complete cloud backups for everything from my iPhone can't be too far away.

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