Afew years ago, at an airline technology confer- ence, three speakers on the stage waxed lyrical about “the Cloud,” a new phenomenon that would make airlines more agile, save them
money and “optimize” applications. More than a few quiz-
zical looks were exchanged among the audience. Finally, a
brave soul asked the question on everyone’s mind: “What
is the Cloud?”
It was the speakers’ turn to exchange looks. None of
the trio could provide a definition.
Fortunately, the industry has found a way to articu-
late the answer, which is surprisingly simple: “Cloud
computing refers to the practice of using a network of
remote servers to store, manage and process data, rather
than a local server or a personal computer,” Peter Raven,
director of business development at Amadeus Data Pro-
cessing, said. “Te Cloud user actually doesn’t know or
feel that they are using physical computing equipment
or running software at a specific location. Tey use a
service that they access using a logical address or name
and are able to complete the same task in the same way
regardless of location via any Internet-enabled device.”
If you use a community storage application, such as
Dropbox, or if you use Salesforce.com’s customer rela-
tionship management tools, you are using the Cloud.
Generally, a Cloud has servers in several locations to
meet the needs of users in different areas of the world.
Te ability to work anywhere on any device has huge
implications for the airline industry, from launching
new routes to making the best use of a crew’s time to
reacting to a disaster.
Radixx International, a provider of airline hosting and distribution systems, has a private Cloud that
enables it to adjust its computing resources up or down
For example, CEO Ron Peri said, if an airline
customer in India decides to give away one million seats
with little or no warning, Radixx can temporarily scale
up to handle the load.
In 2011, SITA launched the ATI Cloud, designed
to address the particular needs of the air transport
An airline launching a new route might find that it is
difficult to find reliable IT services in the new location.
It may find that the infrastructure at outstations is aging
and cannot meet security requirements or support new
applications. Te infrastructure may not be able to
adapt to new ways of working.
SITA runs a set of applications on Citrix server farms
that can be accessed via desktop, laptop or tablet. Tey
“If your primary flight ops
center is on fire, you can go out
to the parking lot and continue
to do your job.”
—Dana Knight, Merlot Aero