Travel technology company Sabre announced a strategic agreement with Microsoft last week, weeks after a similar agreement with AWS. There are a lot of factors contributing to these decisions, but among them, it seems likely they’ve chosen multi-cloud for cost control.
The company has been under the leadership of CEO Sean Menke for a year and a half, and in that time has already downsized its workforce by 10% – saving the company $110 million in annual costs. Against such a backdrop, clearly, cost control will be front of mind.
So how will a multi-cloud strategy contribute to controlling costs as Sabre aims to “reimagine the business of travel”, in their words?
Why Multi-Cloud for Cost Control Makes Sense
As Sabre moves into AWS and Azure, they plan to write new applications with a microservices architecture deployed on Docker containers. Containerization can be an effective cost-saving strategy by reducing the amount of infrastructure needed – and thereby reducing wasted spend, and simplifying software delivery processes to increase productivity and reduce maintenance.
Plus, containerization has the advantage of ease of portability. With a large and public account like Sabre’s, this becomes a cost reduction strategy as AWS and Azure are forced into competition for their business against each other. “We want to have incentives for (cloud providers) not to take our business for granted,” said CIO Joe DiFonzo.
Avoiding vendor lock-in and optimizing workloads are the top two cited reasons for companies to choose a multi-cloud strategy – both of which contribute to cost control.
Either Way, Cost Has to Be a Factor
Aside from the reasons listed above, Sabre may have chosen to make deals with both AWS and Azure due to each cloud providers’ technological strengths, support offerings, developer familiarity, or for other reasons. Whether they’ve chose multi-cloud for cost control as the primary reason is debatable, but they certainly need to control costs now that they’re there.
First of all, most cloud migrations go over budget – not to mention that 62% of first-attempt cloud migrations take longer than expected or fail outright, wasting money directly and through opportunity cost.
Second, Sabre’s legacy system of local, on-premises infrastructure means their IT and development staff is used to the idea of resources that are always available. Users need to be re-educated to learn a “cloud as utility” mindset – as a Director of Infrastructure of Avid put it, users need to learn “that there’s a direct monetary impact for every hour that an idle instance is running.” Of course, this is an issue we see every day.
For companies new to the cloud, we recommend providing training and guidelines to IT Ops, DevOps and Development teams about proper use of cloud infrastructure. This should include:
- Clear governance structures – what users can make infrastructure purchases? How are these purchases controlled?
- Turning resources off when not needed – automating non-production resources to turn off when not needed can reduce the cost of those resources by 65% or more (happy to help, Joe DiFonzo!)
- Regular infrastructure reviews – especially as companies get started in the cloud, it’s easy to waste money on orphaned resources, oversized resources, and resources you no longer need. We recommend regular reviews of all infrastructure to ensure every unused item is caught and eliminated.
Cheers to you, Sabre, and best of luck in your cloud journey.