Air NZ signs support deal with Amdahl

Air New Zealand has still to sort out its outsourcing contract with IBM but in the meantime has cut a major Unix support deal with Amdahl.

Air New Zealand has still to sort out its outsourcing contract with IBM but in the meantime has cut a major Unix support deal with Amdahl and is close to outsourcing support and management of its LANs.

Chief information officer Garth Biggs says negotiations with IBM are pretty much where they were “when we last spoke”.

“We’ve got the principles pretty much lined up but we’re waiting to see what Ansett (the Air New Zealand purchase of Ansett Australia) does to the agreement, and how we build it into the relationship,” he says.

Announced in March, the outsourcing deal is for IBM to take over the airline’s Auckland facility at Newton, including buying two Amdahl mainframes. However, the parties haven’t been able to reach agreement on some parts of the contract.

Amdahl’s contract to supply Sun hardware maintenance and software support services is very significant for the mainframe supplier, which is trying to turn itself into a services organisation.

General manager John Boone says the contract is for 24-hour, seven-day support of more than 50 systems. These include Air New Zealand’s recent purchase of six high-end Sun E6000 systems which form the core of the airline’s mission-critical customer processing architecture project.

The contract is for an initial period of two years.

“We believe the service we are offering Air New Zealand is unique,” Boone says. “It has been specifically tailored to their requirements.

“We are not only providing hardware maintenance and support, but also full-time personnel on site to undertake Unix project work under the direction of Air New Zealand.

“This enables us to provide a very cost-effective total service.”

Air New Zealand has, meanwhile, issued a request for information on outsourcing support and centralising management of all of its LANs.

“We intend to take one or two people (vendors) from the responses and try to work through a memorandum of understanding, taking that through to contract,” Biggs says.

“We expect to have an answer in a couple of weeks.”

Currently, Wang and Axon are the service providers for the airline’s Lans but, says Biggs, they are providing skills and resources rather than significant first-line responsibility.

Wang, though, has first-line responsibility for treasury and, at times, in finance.

The industry regards Wang as a hot favourite to win the contract.

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