American Airlines Moves Critical Apps to the Cloud With IBM

By: Jeff Bertolucci| - Leave a comment

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American Airlines will migrate to IBM Cloud as part of a large-scale transformation designed to make the world’s largest airline operate more efficiently during high-volume periods, according to an IBM press release.

The airline will move a portion of its critical applications to IBM Cloud, including its main website, its global network of check-in kiosks and its customer-facing mobile app. Other workloads and tools, including American’s Cargo customer website, will also move to the cloud.

The driving force behind this effort is to ensure that AA.com will more effectively scale to manage traffic during peak periods. Airline sites have often been overwhelmed by customer traffic during busy travel times, during which they either slow to a crawl or shut down completely, notes eWeek. According to USA Today, in January 2017, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines each experienced technical glitches that snarled schedules and canceled flights.

A Long-Term Partnership

The new cloud pact between American and IBM is the latest partnership in a 60-year business relationship between the global airline and tech giant, according to Investopedia. In November 2016, the two companies announced a deal that would move more of American’s enterprise applications to IBM’s cloud.

Before choosing IBM for its latest cloud initiative, American also evaluated Amazon and Microsoft Azure. However, as the primary IT provider four years ago in the American-U.S. Airways merger, IBM had an edge, eWeek reports.

American also sought a cloud partner that would enable it to build a nonproprietary system with Cloud Foundry, an open-source multi-cloud application platform-as-a-service backed by IBM.

“We also wanted a partner that would offer us the agility to innovate at the organizational and process levels and have deep industry expertise with security at its core. We feel confident that IBM is the right long-term partner to not only provide the public cloud platform, but also enable our delivery transformation,” said Daniel Henry, American’s vice president of customer technology and enterprise architecture, in the IBM press release.

Going Cloud-Native

As part of its cloud migration effort, American will work with IBM Global Services to create innovative applications via popular software development methods, such as microservices architecture, design thinking, agile methodology, lean development and DevOps, according to the IBM press release.

This approach “enables the airline to take its delivery speed to the next level with increased scalability, performance and agility to transform business processes and customer experiences at the same time,” said David Kenny, senior vice president of IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, in the press release.

IBM, one of many players in the highly competitive cloud space, is banking on innovation to give it an edge. In a recent interview with ZDNet, IBM Chief Developer Evangelist Willie Tejada said that innovation will matter more than price in the next phase of cloud computing, as organizations seek new ways to bring agility and elasticity to their IT strategies.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.