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February 14, 2023updated 15 Feb 2023 9:50am

Uber moves data to the public cloud with Google and Oracle

The value of the contracts hasn't been revealed but Uber says it will be spending less than its current outlay on data centres

By Ryan Morrison

Delivery and ride-sharing platform Uber has signed seven-year deals with Oracle and Google Cloud to move its entire operation to the cloud. Currently, 95% of all Uber IT services and data are stored in its own data centres, but after an 11-month evaluation period, the company decided to make the change, claiming it will give it more resilient infrastructure.

Uber says it expects the cost of the cloud contracts to be less than running its own data centres (Photo: Lutsenko_Oleksandr/Shutterstock)
Uber says it expects the cost of the cloud contracts to be less than running its own data centres. (Photo by Lutsenko_Oleksandr/Shutterstock)

Uber says it has come to the conclusion that it would be better to work with multiple cloud providers to reduce the risk of any one going down or of outages that could leave its drivers unable to connect. It also found each of Oracle and Google Cloud offered different services and functionality that it could take advantage of.

The contract with Google will include its mapping service for vehicle routing and access to advertising products and services. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: “We look forward to expanding our collaboration with Uber to deploy our cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and edge networking solutions.

Meanwhile Uber plans to make use of Oracle’s cloud-based enterprise resource planning system, as well as database products that fit well for its emerging freight business. This, says Oracle CEO Safra Catz, will allow Uber to continue its transformation into a “go anywhere, get anything” platform, something that could only be delivered through the cloud.

“This landmark competitive win is further validation of the momentum and acceleration we are experiencing in the market,” said Catz.

Specific use per provider

The value of the deals haven’t been released by any of the parties involved, and it is unclear how data and compute requirements will be split between the providers beyond the uses revealed today.

Uber has relied on its own data and server hardware since its launch in 2009 but the supply-chain issues caused during the Covid-19 pandemic acted as a tipping point for the company, pushing it to explore better solutions. Moving to the cloud and working with a third party allows Uber to use better cybersecurity defences and react more quickly when there are disruptions.

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Both Google Cloud and Oracle have a relatively small share of the public cloud market, and it has been reported that the companies offered Uber significant discounts in order to win the company’s business ahead of the leaders, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Kamran Zargahi, senior director of technology strategy for Uber, told the Wall Street Journal the company wanted to move engineers from managing data centres to "areas that make differentiations for our product", which could include greater use of artificial intelligence and other cloud-heavy technologies.

Uber reportedly spent $221m on office and data-centre rent in 2018, according to IPO paperwork from 2019, and while the value of the deal hasn't been disclosed, Zargahi said Uber expects cloud to be cheaper than its data centres as it ends its leases on the facilities or ends co-location agreements.

Read more: Rapid grocery delivery could see a tipping point this year

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