Apple entered into the cloud services arena with the launch of iCloud at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco last week. But, according to the InfiniteApple site, who analyzed the traffic patterns and found that “Apple appeared to be using both Azure and Amazon Web Services for hosting.”
The screenshots embedded at the bottom of this post purportedly show the HTTP traffic logged when an image is sent through Apple’s new iMessage service. The Infinite Loop post says the data may indicate that iCloud is utilizing Amazon’s cloud storage system S3 and Microsoft’s Azure cloud service to assist in delivering the message.
“We don’t believe iCloud stores actual content. Rather, it simply manages links to uploaded content,” according to an updated June 13 Infinite Apple post.
Paul Paliath at InfiniteApple with Rafael Rivera today confirmed that Apple’s iCloud cloud service does in fact use outside cloud services-including Azure and Amazon S3. And what they’ve found is that iCloud doesn’t even (currently) host images sent over iCloud’s iMessage service. Instead, it places them on Azure (or S3) and links to them instead.
Here’s Paliath’s saying on the issue:
Last week, we posted some screenshots showing what appeared to be Apple’s new iCloud-backed iMessage using Azure (and Amazon) services for hosting. Since then, GigaOM ran the screenshots through three “cloud and networking experts at major companies” and the trio dismissed our claims.
Looking at the screenshots, it’s obvious Charles was used to dump iCloud traffic. Working with Rafael Rivera, we were able to set up a similar configuration with proper SSL sniffing capabilities — a set up that cloud and networking experts could have set up in minutes.
We sent an image from and to iPhones running a beta copy of iOS 5. The resulting traffic showed, quite clearly, the use of Azure services for hosting purposes. We don’t believe iCloud stores actual content. Rather, it simply manages links to uploaded content.
Based on InfiniteApple’s info, Apple seems to be using Azure’s BLOB (binary large object) storage, which’s part of the Windows Azure core. However, the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) is integrated directly with Azure’s storage services.
It’s to be note, that Apple’s iCloud is still in beta, and Apple is just in the process of turning on its much-touted $500 million North Carolina data center. And, Azure and AWS — in whatever capacity they’re actually being used — is temporary.