Delta Air Lines Inc.

said Thursday that it had signed a multi-year contract with

International Business Machines Corp.

to help operators move most of their data and applications to the cloud.

The companies refused to disclose the value of the contract, which runs until at least 2024. Under the agreement, IBM will help the airline migrate applications or, in some cases, rebuild applications from cloud servers managed by technical vendors of Delta’s choice.

The agreement also means IBM will train more than 1,000 Delta IT professionals to work in the cloud and help them develop skills in application development, data management and security.

The migration will include hundreds of software applications, including Delta Fly’s mobile application, internal contact center software, baggage tracking system and more. It does not include Delta’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, which, at least initially, will continue to be based on servers owned and operated by Delta.

Rahul Samant, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Delta Air Lines.


Delta Air Lines Inc.

The deal will accelerate Delta’s cloud migration plan, which began in 2018 and was initially expected to take about 10 years, Delta’s CIO said.

Rahul Samant

Said. Delta’s goal now is to complete this effort by 2024, he said, which means at least 90 percent of its applications and databases will be in the cloud.

We wanted to do it on a very opportunistic basis as opposed to the current basis, it’s like a real program, Mr. Samant said. We have a mission, we have a partner, we have a timetable, he added.

By running data and applications in the cloud, rather than on local servers, Delta can mitigate technical failures, quickly deploy new applications or features, and access artificial intelligence tools only available in the cloud, among other benefits, Samant said.

IBM is trying to accelerate its growth by focusing more on hybrid cloud computing, among other things. According to this concept, thousands of companies will move to the cloud in the coming years, while some devices will remain in the home. In addition, these companies are expected to use multiple cloud service providers and data centers, allowing IBM to manage the complexity of such a facility.

We certainly do a lot of work in that area.

Mark Foster,

IBM’s Senior Vice President of Services points to cloud-related agreements with companies such as

American Airlines Inc.

He was referring to the Delta Agreement: What we do here around complete application modernization is one of the most comprehensive.

According to Chirag Dekate, analyst at Gartner Inc, Delta is one of the companies moving to cloud computing to provide IT teams with a single platform for application development, deployment and maintenance.

Organizations that participate in these tours will certainly benefit from the growth momentum that companies will experience when Covid ends, he said.

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Major technology companies are investing in data centers as they compete for the $214 billion cloud computing market. WSJ explains what cloud computing is and why Big Tech is betting on future contracts. (Originally published on December 2, 2019)

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