The Information: Apple’s AWS Bill Is Falling, Not Rising

Contrary to CNBC’s story earlier this week, Amir Efrati and Kevin McLaughlin of the Information are reporting that their sources say that Apple cut spending with Amazon in 2018 compared to the previous year. And then there’s this:

In recent years, Apple has also expanded its use of Google Cloud, which the company has used, along with AWS, to power its iCloud service. But the increases in Apple’s spending with Google were slowed by the previously unreported incident involving the Google data center, according to two people briefed about the issue at Apple.

In that incident, which occurred about three years ago, a Google data center failed due to a fire, making some iCloud user data, including photos, inaccessible to users for a time, according to two people briefed about the issue at Apple. The event led to Apple discovering that Google was, in some cases, storing copies of Apple data within a single data center rather spreading them out to different locations, as Apple had expected, the two people said.

Fortunately, Apple identified the problem quickly, allowing it to recover the data, these people said. Some of the unavailable data had to be retrieved from data stored on customers’ devices, which were unaffected by the outage, one of these people said.

I’ve long been conflicted about the wisdom of storing my files with cloud services. It means losing a great deal of control over those files, for example, but it also means easier access from different devices. I’m not sure about those trade-offs. But one argument I’ve been swayed by is the assumption that data centres have better backup strategies than most of us. Efrati and McLaughlin’s report deeply undermines that assumption.