IBM’s Red Hat to Power Delta Air Lines’ Shift Towards Hybrid Cloud


Delta Airlines has roped in IBM to power its shift towards a hybrid cloud architecture built on Red Hat OpenShift. The integration will involve IBM hybrid cloud software modernizing and migrating Delta’s applications to the public cloud and enabling a standards-based approach to development, security and operations across clouds.

Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud leverages the scale and security of IBM Cloud to let enterprises manage workloads without worrying about scalability, reliability, and responsiveness. The platform will enable Delta Air Lines to drive greater software engineering productivity to enhance customer experience in the long run.

“As an airline industry leader, we understand the critical need to constantly evolve our digital presence and enhance our customer and employee experience to not only help respond quickly to the dynamic changing conditions but also reinforce brand loyalty from our customers,” says Rahul Samant, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Delta Air Lines.

“As one of many integral steps we are taking to advance our digital business transformation, IBM will help us migrate to the cloud and create a new operating model that will transform and modernize our technology platform.” 

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During Delta’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Edward Bastian said the airline was preparing for future demand by working on a new cost structure, and improving technology. After an entire year of subdued travel, the company expects a surge across all its digital channels, outpacing current passenger volumes. A corporate survey conducted by Delta indicated that “40% of respondents expect full recovery by 2022.”

Delta envisions a remodeled public cloud that enhances future customer experience. With IBM’s Red Hat OpenShift, the airline will run on hybrid cloud architecture, streamlining various operations and strengthening security across all platforms. IBM plans to use its expertise in travel transportation technology and IBM Garage Methodology to create new solutions accelerating Delta’s makeoverOpens a new window . The tech giant will also leverage CloudPaks, its hybrid cloud software, to co-create applications and enhance the airline’s software engineering efficiency. 

 “This agreement expands our longstanding relationship with Delta Air Lines to help them accelerate and navigate their ambitious digital transformation journey,” said Mark Foster, Senior Vice President, IBM Services. “This long-term project will apply the power of IBM’s hybrid cloud approach, enabling Delta to develop applications once and deploy them anywhere, integrate security across the breadth of their IT estate, and automate operations with management visibility.”

This is not the first time Delta has partnered with IBM to modernize its IT infrastructure. In January last year, Delta Air Line became the first commercial airline to join the IBM Q NetworkOpens a new window – the world’s largest fleet of universal hardware quantum computers- for commercial cases as well as fundamental research. 

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In the past, IBM has also partnered with other prominent airlines, enabling them to benefit from innovative new technology, including AI, cloud, and mobile, to gain elasticity, agility, and efficiency. Japan Airlines and Finnair delivered new travel experiences to their customers with customized recommendations powered by IBM Watson. 

Similarly, American Airlines also utilized Cloud Infrastructure, IBM Cloud Virtual Servers, IBM Garage, and Watson IoT Platform to respond to customer needs. The partnership with IBM set up a fresh approach to help American Airlines deliver digital self-service tools and customer value more rapidly across its enterprise.

In early 2017, United Airlines and IBM also teamed up to deliver a suite of enterprise iOS apps empowering the carrier’s front-line employees who carry iPhones and iPads to assist with their passenger-facing duties. 

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