Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Air India Moves Entire IT Infrastructure To Cloud, Closes Historic Data Centres

Air India, India’s leading global airline, has successfully migrated to a cloud-only IT infrastructure, having closed its historic data centres located in Mumbai and New Delhi. This makes Air India one of the first major global airlines to have moved all computational workloads exclusively to the cloud.

The move brings remarkable technological agility and scalability to Air India, enabling it to accelerate its digital transformation effort and roll out new digital innovations and applications to enhance operational efficiencies, customer and employee experiences. The closure of the data centres will further result in net savings of nearly a million dollar every year.

Dr Satya Ramaswamy, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Air India, said: “At Air India, we have adopted ‘cloud-only’ as our computational infrastructure philosophy. For us, cloud is not just about cost savings and operational efficiencies but is a fundamental way to reimagine computing itself and a critical lever to accelerate innovation. We have adopted a strategic mix of Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service methodologies in Air India’s transformation journey, allowing us to innovate faster and provide a flexible and reliable computational and networking infrastructure for the company.”

Given the heavy interdependency on a variety of other systems in the data centres, the entire process of migration to cloud was skillfully and carefully strategized, mapped out, and managed by Air India’s top architects and engineers in Silicon Valley in the U.S., and Gurugram and Kochi in India. The exercise required the migration of all computational workloads from several mainframes, hundreds of servers, a large amount of data, and hundreds of equipment to the cloud.

“The contribution of our data centres to making Air India a global airline is impossible to leave uncounted. Our colleagues who have worked at these data centres for years and decades were made integral parts of this complex migration exercise, and they have been trained along the way on new skills to continue contributing to a modernised Air India”, said Dr Ramaswamy.

Air India was one of the earliest airlines globally to have adopted high-performance computing and storage in the initial years of the computing age. The now-closed data centres were once used to drive innovations and automations across multiple spheres of the airline’s commercial and financial functions.

Puneet Chandok, President, Microsoft India & South Asia, said, “We are proud to be a part of Air India's cloud transformation journey. Air India's successful migration to Microsoft Azure shows the power and adaptability of the Microsoft cloud, and how we can effectively support leaders in the global airline industry like Air India. We are delighted with our continued collaboration with Air India, enabling innovation and unleashing the potential of AI, at the same time building the platform for faster decision making and improved customer experiences."

Air India will continue to accelerate its transformation journey, empowered by the new capabilities resulting from its complete movement to the cloud and the increased talent bandwidth available now to innovate rather than manage its own on-premise computational infrastructure. These would include the launch of several innovations in its customer-facing channels and in its employee experiences. These innovations will be powered by cloud capabilities in advanced data analytics and AI, such as Generative AI, that can now be embedded seamlessly all through the company’s applications.

About Air India:

Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India pioneered India’s aviation sector. Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has built an extensive domestic network with non-stop flights to cities around the world, across the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far-East, South-East Asia, Australia, and the Gulf. After 69 years as a government-owned enterprise, Air India and Air India Express were welcomed back into the Tata group in January 2022.

Air India is navigating through a major five-year transformation roadmap under the aegis of Vihaan.AI, with an ambition to become a world class airline with an Indian heart. The first phase of this transformation, the taxi phase was recently concluded, and focused on fixing the basics. These included bringing back to service many long grounded aircraft, addition of talent across flying and ground functions, rapid upgradation of technology and strengthening of customer care initiatives amongst others. A member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium of leading international airlines, Air India offers seamless connectivity and facilities to passengers all over the world.

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