Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

American Airlines Tabs IBM for 1st Public Cloud PCI-Compliant System 

American Airlines has selected IBM Cloud as its public cloud services provider to develop, among other enterprise systems, what IBM said will be the industry’s first PCI-compliant ecommerce solution on a shared cloud platform.

The multi-year deal builds on a relationship between the two companies that extends back to IBM’s development in the 1950’s of American’s first centralized electronic reservation and ticketing system. More recently, IBM played a lead role following the 2013 merger of American and US Airways in integrating the two companies’ IT systems, an effort that continues today. American and US Air form American Airlines Group, the largest airline in the world with 6,700 daily flights and $40B in revenues.

ibm-cloud-logoThe agreement with American is the largest publicly announced deal for IBM Cloud, which is striving to gain a larger foothold in the public cloud market dominated by Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to data released in August by Synergy Research Group on the second-quarter market shares of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and hosted private clouds, AWS has 31 percent of the market, well ahead of Microsoft Azure at 11 percent, Google at 8 percent and IBM Cloud at 5 percent.

American Airlines will leverage IBM Cloud's presence in more than 50 data centers in 17 countries for select enterprise applications, as well as a wide range of application development capabilities through IBM Bluemix, a “marketplace” for application development, platform and support capabilities. In addition, American will access IBM’s analytics capabilities and technologies in the development “a cognitive infrastructure,” according to IBM.

Patrick Grubbs, IBM’s Vice President of Global Travel and Transportation, told EnterpriseTech IBM will take on development is development of an e-commerce system for American that complies with PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)regulations, a set of security requirements designed to ensure the security of credit card transactions. This is a major challenge, given regulations around the use of sensitive consumer data in public cloud settings.

“We’re working with American to create one of the first public multitenancy environments that will support their commerce technology,” said Grubbs. “There will be no other provider offering that capability. If you want a PCI solution today you have to do that on a dedicated environment. We’re developing a public, shared, PCI environment, so organizations don’t have to purchase PCI technology for themselves, they can leverage the cost efficiencies of a shared, public environment.”

"With the incredible proliferation of and access to data, cloud is becoming a platform for innovation," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. "The scalability and performance of the IBM Cloud, combined with Bluemix, turns the cloud into an enabler of innovation and a way to create new services and business models. This partnership is about delivering the flexibility to American Airline's business, allowing them to enhance their customer relationships and further gain a competitive advantage."