​Apple's hybrid cloud plan: Google, AWS, Microsoft Azure like most companies

Apple is diversifying its infrastructure-as-a-service footprint with Google along with Amazon Web Services. Repeat after me: Every enterprise will have multiple cloud infrastructure providers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Apple will reportedly spend about $400 million to $600 million to run parts of iCloud on Google Cloud Platform in a move to diversify its cloud services away from Amazon Web Services.

In other words, Apple's infrastructure is going to look a lot like every other enterprise's.

One storyline here via CRN is that Google's cloud business scored a coup. Of course, it did. Google needs large enterprise customers that can be referenced. AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM have plenty of them. Google also hired former VMware CEO Dianne Greene to lead its Cloud Platform operations and woo customers.

Now the tech press can get carried away with the AWS vs. Google enterprise cloud war. Who can resist? The AWS vs. Google thread is a tech sports story for sure.

But it's not zero sum. Let's replace Apple with any other large enterprise like 3M. The diversification move barely warrants a mention. Why? Every enterprise will have multiple cloud infrastructure vendors as well as its own infrastructure.

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Apple is a hybrid cloud poster boy. The company has spent billions of dollars on its own data centers to provide iCloud services. Part of that cloud footprint ran on AWS. Some rode on Microsoft Azure too. Now Google Cloud Platform will get a chunk. IBM's SoftLayer may get a piece too.

What Apple is ultimately going for is an cost optimization strategy where it can toggle between cloud providers. Rest assured, Google gave Apple a sweet deal to have iCloud as a reference customer. Google and Apple are strange bedfellows, but is it any worse than Netflix completely running on AWS when Amazon has a streaming video service too? Nope.


Add it up and it might be wise to keep infrastructure as a service in perspective. The raw compute game is commoditized and the real win will be moving customers up the stack. Will AWS suffer if Apple brings Google on for compute and storage? Probably not. Can AWS win if Apple uses more of the company's big data, database and analytics services while bringing Google infrastructure online? You bet. It's quite possible Apple diversifies and AWS can capture more revenue just because the cloud demand pie grows.

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