WWDC: Has Apple turned to Oracle for iCloud?

By Jonny Evans

Recall Apple [AAPL] CEO, Steve Jobs, Monday, when he introduced the iCloud service and described his company as "serious" about its fourth attempt to make online services popular?

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Thunder in the cloud

Storage analyst Stephen Foskett (via The Register) took a look at the interior images of Apple's data center Mr. Jobs briefly flashed up during his WWDC presentation. He developed some interesting ideas about what kind of machines are running Apple's iCloud. No surprise, given Apple's move to stop selling the things, that the iCloud doesn't seem to run on Xserves.

Jobs described the server farm as "full of expensive stuff," but that doesn't give away too much. However, it seems Apple hasn't just purchased HP's old Cupertino campus to build its spaceship on, but it has also acquired a shed load of ProLiant DL380 G7 Xeon-based servers and NetApp FAS6200 network-attached storage arrays to fill its North Carolina data center.

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

Apple's also filled some of the space with a batch of (possibly OEMed Dell) Teradata kit, Foskett claims.

He says: "Whatever Apple bought for this datacenter, they bought a lot of it. Just the hint that they purchased Isilon bumped parent company EMC's stock a few months back. I imagine Teradata and NetApp might see similar bumps from these images!"

[ABOVE: Easily one of my favorite tech industry clips, Larry Ellison gives it some on cloud computing.]

Apple and Oracle

Foskett suspects that the Apple leader's friendship with Oracle boss, Larry Ellison could lead him to opt for Oracle's solutions as the software to drive that Unix-based iOS/OS X-friendly service up there in the sky.

"Would they still buy HP equipment, now that Palm and WebOS are re-emerging as iOS-killer contenders? Would Jobs' friendship with Larry Ellison indicate a proclivity to buy Oracle or Pillar Data? Maybe the Apple/Cisco Détente would suggest UCS or even EMC? And what about that rumored Isilon buy. Was that displaced by Teradata and NetApp?"

These things matter. Repercussions of these decisions will likely extend to Apple's future software-as-service plans and an outlandish-seeming but probable move (given it is the industry direction) to make the operating system itself a server/client system available to all manner of devices -- including PC boxes -- and pumped down from the ether.

-- Though such steps will demand effective and robust solutions to bandwidth limitations (what's Woz up to?) and security challenges be found.

Please let me know -- are the boxes identified correctly identified? What drives the Apple cloud? Please, share your thoughts in comments below, and I'd be most pleased if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I'm able to let you know as new reports get published here first on Computerworld.  

Additional WWDC coverage:

"WWDC: Apple's iCloud is 'one cloud to rule them all'"
"WWDC: Apple's iOS 5 eats RIM, gets 'Post-PC' updated"
"WWDC: Apple's Mac OS Lion will cost $29.99, more"
"WWDC: Industry speaks on Apple's iCloud post-PC attack"
"WWDC: Will Intel chips power future iPhones?"
“WWDC: Apple beats HP for global chip consumption”

"WWDC 2015 at Apple's Cupertino 'spaceship'"

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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