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Technology / Cloud

Apple working on secret Project McQueen to move away from AWS, Azure to its own data centres – report

Apple is working on a ‘secret’ project dubbed "McQueen" to cut its dependence on AWS and Microsoft’s Azure clouds, it has been reported.

The company is said to have been working on the project for several months, VentureBeat reported citing an anonymous source.

Apple could be ready to move out of other infrastructure providers’ data centres within three years, the person said.

The company, which is reportedly spending over $1.1bn a year on AWS and Azure, is now looking to enhance its data centre footprint and become more dependent on its own infrastructure.

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The source said Apple is unhappy with the fact that photos and videos do not upload quickly enough onto iOS devices when using AWS.

Elsewhere, the source said that an Apple employee told a Microsoft employee that Azure will not be able to scale and address the needs of Apple’s workloads in the future.

As a result, if Apple were to keep using Microsoft’s cloud and data centres, it would have to pay extra money to help Microsoft expand its data centres, the Microsoft employee reportedly told the Apple employee.

Apple’s iTunes service is today mostly outsourced from Azure and other infrastructure providers, according to the source.

In February, Morgan Stanley’s analysts Katy Hubert and Brian Nowak suggested Apple could be planning to move away from AWS’s data centres as capital expenditure is up 30% this year.

Following a conference call with Apple on the company’s results, Hubert said: "We have picked up that Apple plans to move some of its services out of AWS back to their own data centres."

Cupertino-based Apple has publicly unveiled data centre expansion plans worth up to $3.9bn in the US, Ireland and Denmark, topping 2.5mn sqf of extra hosting floor to power its iCloud and other services such as iTunes and the App Store.

The source has now told VentureBeat that Apple has acquired parcels of land in China and Hong Kong to build data centres.

Yesterday, another leak from inside Apple unveiled the company has migrated some of its services from AWS to Google’s cloud platform, a source told CRN.

An AWS spokeswoman said: "It is kind of a puzzler to us because vendors who understand doing business with enterprises respect [non-disclosure agreements] with their customers and do not imply competitive defection where it does not exist."

According to the report, Apple is currently spending between $400m to $600m on Google’s cloud.

Overall, Apple anticipates utilising approximately $15bn for capital expenditure during 2016, up from last year’s $11.2bn, which includes product tooling and manufacturing process equipment, data centres, corporate and retail facilities.
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