All is apparently forgiven if not forgotten. Air New Zealand is to outsource the storage and facilities management of key IT systems to IBM’s new $80 million datacentre in Auckland. It is a 10-year contract. “Both parties have learned a lot,” says Air New Zealand CFO Rob McDonald, commenting on a major outage at IBM late in 2009 that crippled services and disrupted thousands of passengers. The airline’s CEO, Rob Fyfe, commented at that time that in a 30-year working career he was struggling to recall a time where he had seen a supplier so slow to react to a catastrophic system failure and so unwilling to accept responsibility. The relationship is now very good health, McDonald says. Air NZ went to tender for the contract. He wouldn’t say which other vendors were involved. “It was a tender process over a number of months. We have been in exclusive discussions with IBM over the past couple of months. This is a part of a wider contract with IBM involving mainframe services and various other things they provide. “Our data centre contract [with IBM] terminates soon. We should have moved to the new data centre by the end of March.” “This is our second Tier 3 data centre. We’ve started moving from our back-up site in Nelson Street.” Gen-i was contracted last August to design, deliver and support an additional data centre and extra network infrastructure as a replacement for the airline’s secondary data centre.
Air New Zealand will be able to replicate its entire IT environment across the two Tier 3 data centres. “This new agreement makes Air New Zealand the first company in the country to have its IT infrastructure across two Tier 3 facilities,” McDonald says. He says this is typical of airlines around the world.