In Industry 4.0, cloud migration is quickly becoming a mandatory move. While financial pressures often act as a major driver for cloud migration, the cloud offers much more than just cost savings: it provides greater manageability and scalability than on-premises services. Not only does the cloud change the way that industry can attract new talent, but companies that stick with legacy systems will be unable to enhance their survivability in the future. Embarking on a cloud migration produces considerable benefits to the day-to-day operations of a company by changing the way that new services can be tested and developed.
Founded in Finland in 2011, Nordcloud was created in response to a gap in the market in the Nordic region where there was no cloud consultancy for managerial and operations and capacity-related services. From there, the company has grown significantly year-by-year, and was acquired by IBM in December 2020 to bolster its global public cloud services.
Cloud migration for Finnair
When Nordcloud was approached by Finnair, the airline was seven months away from the end of its data centre contract. Finnair is the largest airline in Finland, but this project coincided with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so its systems were under lighter utilisation.
Before the data centre contract expired, approximately 400 servers and 70 applications had to be transferred to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The AWS platform offers a number of built-in features that are easy to test to see if they are beneficial for Finnair’s use, utilising a “fail fast” mentality.
According to Nordcloud’s Cormac Walsh, an expert in digital transformation and cloud solutions for the aviation industry: “A cloud migration project has to have a very robust cloud migration strategy and cloud governance strategy, so within four weeks we had a complete cloud strategy and migration plan.
“We had assessed the application estate, covering all of the virtual machines, applications and databases, and also the interdependencies with third-party applications and integrations with external systems. In the case of aviation, that would include, for example, the crew management systems, Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) applications and booking systems. Everything has to be done in an extraordinarily coordinated way so that there was absolutely no downtime.”
Nordcloud was heavily involved in third-party application migration and integration management, which offloaded a considerable amount of work from Finnair. This was especially beneficial during the pandemic, where furloughs resulted in additional skill shortages.
Managed application modernisation
Managed application modernisation is a service that Nordcloud offers in which an application, virtual machine, or a suite of applications can be moved into the cloud while eliminating legacy inefficiencies and technical debt. This can have major long-term benefits when it comes to day-to-day operations and cost-savings, and Nordcloud is so confident in its assurance that it offers managed application modernisation as a zero up-front cost service. For Finnair, costs were spread out over three years, meaning that they paid as they gained the value of the service.
“We’re looking at what level of technical debt exists within a particular application and then how that can be addressed strategically,” Walsh explains. “There is a kind of tenet in the cloud migration business that says that you should do your migration work as simply as possible at the start, and then think about deep modernisation later. While that’s very true, if we think about the idea of re-platforming, you’re already putting your foot in the water in terms of modernisation. At that point, it makes a lot of sense to look at what else can be done to that particular application.
“In this managed application modernisation, we looked at the overall state and formed a plan that encompasses application opportunities for modernisation. Some of them, if they’ve got little enough technical debt and don’t immediately pose security risks, can be ‘lifted and shifted’. However, for other applications, we will surgically look at how they can be improved. This produces lots of benefits for our clients, some of our major clients have experienced one million euro per-year licencing cost-savings immediately after the migration of sets of applications using this particular model.”
Finnair was running SAP on DB2 with an AIX operating system, which Nordcloud transformed to SAP HANA (High-performance ANalytic Appliance). Its business-critical applications and integrations on AIX were modernised with re-platforming, and Nordcloud handled all the licensing and helped reduce costs through licence optimisation. The most challenging application was the Airflight Maintenance and Operations System (AMOS), which relied on legacy technology and was constrained in its scalability. Nordcloud split the application intofour separate suites of software that migrated with a mixture of refactoring and lift and shift.
Since the cloud migration was successfully completed, Nordcloud has continued to support Finnair with a full-scale application modernisation project.
To find out more about how Nordcloud can support your cloud journey join us at the World Aviation Festival from 4-6 October 2022 or learn more here.