40k servers, 400k CPUs and 40 PB of storage later... welcome to Google Cloud

Sabre Technology shutters 17 datacenters, says 90% of workloads transferred

Airline reservation technology biz Sabre Corporation has almost completed a mammoth migration to Google Cloud - one that would have tested the nerves of the most steely-eyed IT director.

The US-based company disclosed that nearly 90 percent of its workloads are now on Google Cloud and it has closed 17 datacenters.

Sabre announced an agreement with Google in 2020 to drive digital transformation. The move involved migrating data and adopting Google’s cloud services, including data analytics tools as part of its operations.

Writing on LinkedIn, Sabre Chief Information Officer Joe DiFonzo said the company has now moved “more than 40,000 servers, 400,000 CPUs, and 50 petabytes of storage” to Google’s platform.

“We've integrated over a dozen analytics platforms into Google BigQuery, created over 50,000 containers in Google Kubernetes Engine, and created dozens of new intelligent services using Google Vertex AI. Our developers are now moving at cloud speed, and our operational performance, stability, and security are better than ever,” DiFonzo claimed.

The big switch comes as figures from research company Canalys suggest cloud spending is on the up again following a period of slowdown.

Canalys says that global expenditure on cloud infrastructure services climbed 19 percent year-on-year in Q4 2023, reaching $78.1 billion, an increase of US$12.3 billion. It forecast that global cloud infrastructure services spend will swell by 20 percent for the whole of 2024, compared with 18 percent in 2023.

More customers are now expanding their commitments with hyperscale cloud operators in anticipation of increased consumption requirements, following a period where enterprises were more focused on optimizing their use of cloud resources. Canalys claimed that cloud migration efforts, such as that of Sabre, are picking up once again. This comes alongside a surge in new demand, particularly in the widespread adoption of AI applications.

Canalys found that the three big players - AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud - accounted for 66 percent of total spending during Q4 2023, but Microsoft is significantly outpacing the market at 30 percent growth, while AWS on 13 percent year-on-year growth remains “behind the trajectory” of both Azure and Google Cloud.

Not everyone, however, feels the same enthusiasm toward cloud as Sabre. As The Register wrote last year, some companies are re-evaluating their approach to the cloud after finding that operating with public cloud resources can be just as costly, if not more so, than doing it on-prem or in a colocation set-up.

Singaporean company Ahrefs claimed in March 2023 that keeping its infrastructure on-premises rather than using AWS would save $400 million over three years, for example.

Basecamp project management developer 37Signals decided to reverse its own cloud migration and go back to on-premise infrastructure after being presented with a $3.2 million cloud hosting bill. Last September, 37Signals CTO issued an update on its cloud repatriation project claiming it had already saved the company $1 million. ®

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