Snapchat, A Prominent Google Cloud Customer, Strikes A Deal With AWS

Snap, the company behind the popular Snapchat social messaging app, is committed to its relationship with Google Cloud but revealed on Thursday it's also leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to achieve redundancy for its services.

One of the first high-profile customers for Google Cloud Platform, the social media darling based in Los Angeles is preparing for an IPO and looking to negotiate server capacity for the next five years.

In an SEC filing used by companies getting ready to go public, Snap expounded on the benefits of the public cloud in enabling it to provide its famously short-lived photo, video and text messaging services to its vast base of customers.

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In that S-1 filing, Snap noted that cloud providers, primarily Google, allow the company to maintain a "capital-light business model" and scale the service without building infrastructure.

"We believe that working with these partners will result in lower costs for us in both the short and long term," the document states. "Large scale infrastructure providers offer several advantages, including global scale to serve our audience, the ability to handle peak demand more economically, and purchasing power to procure equipment directly from infrastructure equipment vendors that results in lower net costs to us."

Snapchat helped put Google Compute Engine on the map when it chose the then-fledgling Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider to host its product back in 2011. At the time, Google was just wading into the waters of competition with AWS.

Snap, as the company was later renamed, still procures the "vast majority" of its computing resources from Google Cloud, and has budgeted $2 billion on the provider over the next five years.

It wouldn't be easy to switch to another provider, the SEC filing notes, especially since Google offers some unique services.

"Any transition of such services to another cloud provider would be difficult to implement, and may cause us to incur significant time and expense," the filing said.

At the same time, Snap signed an AWS Enterprise Agreement back in March of last year. The company plans to spend $1 billion with Amazon over the next five years for "redundant infrastructure support of our business operations."

Ultimately, according to the filing, Snap may decide it's time to invest in building its own infrastructure.

It's not out of the norm for large Internet services companies, who constitute some of the largest cloud users due to their massive scales and sophisticated needs, to work with multiple cloud providers.

Last year, CRN first reported that Google made a major deal with one of AWS's largest customers when it signed Apple to an account worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Unlike Snap, who's executives often appear at Google conferences to tout the platform, Apple was highly secretive about its business partners and has never disclosed publicly which providers host its many services.