American Airlines, the ubiquitous airplane company in the US, has turned to IBM for cloud tech. Both the companies announced on early Tuesday morning that the airlines will use IBM’s cloud for some of its applications. Though neither company mentioned the complete list of applications that would be moved to IBM’s cloud, it is expected that American would move some of its legacy applications to the cloud.
The financial terms of the deal is not disclosed at this time, which is not that surprising considering that IBM is one of American’s cloud partners, and there is no exclusivity involved. So, American is free to strike a deal with other companies, and can even have a few cloud providers to host different applications, though there has been no mention of any other deal so far. Amazon is the market leader, though other providers like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and VMware are catching up.
This deal between IBM and American Airlines reflects the long-standing partnership of the two giants, that goes back decades. For example, when American Airlines wanted to introduce an online reservation system called SABRE, IBM was the one that developed and managed it for the airline company. This deep relationship is also partly why American chose IBM when it decided to move to the cloud. Going forward, both the companies are expected to further cement their partnership, and may even tap into IBM’s “Watson” – the artificial intelligence software that IBM is customizing to meet the needs of different clients.
A few months ago, American Airlines’ chief information officer, Maya Leibman, announced that the company would be embracing cloud soon to leverage the opportunities that come with it. This deal with IBM seems to be the first step towards achieving this goal. From this deal, it is clear that American has started on the process of modernizing its tech segment to keep in tune with the growing demands of its customers, who expect faster and a more reliable set of online tools. Also, its growing digital footprint necessitates a scalable infrastructure, that is best filled by a cloud architecture.
In fact, this airline is not alone in making this massive technological shift. Most companies world over are looking to move some or all of their operations to the cloud, with an aim to reap the benefits of such a move. As the volume of data grows, companies can choose to have their own data center or can store their data and applications in a service provider’s infrastructure. There are advantages and disadvantages in both the choices, so sometimes, companies prefer to store some data in their own data center and some in the cloud. American Airlines is also taking this hybrid approach as of now, as it plans to keep some applications on its own premises. But, that may change, depending on how this move to the cloud plays out for the company.
Thus, this is the first baby step taken by American Airlines to make a foray into cloud, and over time, the company may even move all of its applications to the cloud.
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