On-demand ATI Cloud will give airline staff infrastructure, platform and software as a service...
Air transport IT supplier Sita has unveiled plans for a dedicated community cloud for the airline industry, which it says is designed to meet the specific operational demands and procedures of the aviation sector.
The ATI Cloud, as it is provisionally called, will go live in June and will use Sita's existing global network. The on-demand framework will offer airline employees online access to infrastructure, desktop, platform and software as a service.
Capacity in six regional virtual datacentres will be combined with virtual resources at large airports, with the aim of ensuring all airline users can access cloud resources in no more than 100 milliseconds.
Sita CEO Francesco Violante outlined plans for the on-demand framework in London on Tuesday, citing evidence that suggests airlines will benefit from a dedicated cloud computing platform.
As much as 85 per cent of airlines plan to have a virtual data infrastructure deployed by 2013, according to Sita's Airline IT Trends Survey for 2010. At the same time, 73 per cent of airlines would prefer to use a private rather than a public cloud.
Violante said the airline industry is based on complex standards, which require real-time applications. "Our aim is to ensure there is a consistency in approach," he said.
"The best way to be sure that this consistency is there is to create a dedicated private cloud that is specifically constructed for the airline industry."
In addition to creating benefits for end users, Sita believes the open approach will provide a valuable platform for independent software vendors and service providers to distribute their applications to airlines.
"Our aim is eventually to provide all services in the cloud," said Violante. "Our community cloud is not just about the online deployment of Sita services. We want to enable other providers to run their services for airlines."
Although the platform will be available from June, Sita expects the demand for cloud services to increase over time. It thinks smaller airlines, which are already making use of online hosting, will move more quicker than larger organisations.
Sita suggests annual cost savings from the industry initiative should quickly reach £100m, but could be as high as £50m a month if large sections of the airline sector move to the ATI Cloud. Sita executives believe the integrated approach of an industry, which already shares airports and network infrastructure, will help.
Greg Ouillon, vice president of the ATI Cloud programme at Sita, said the airline industry's community approach is ahead of other sectors. "It fits well with the industry within which we operate. Our members are used to sharing. The community approach is already embedded in the way airlines operate."
Sita executives said they are not aware of other competitors offering similar services to airline firms, though they do expect similar initiatives to evolve. Sita said there are no plans to apply the community cloud framework to other industries.