The Boeing Co. announced today it has signed deals with all three major cloud computing providers — Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google LLC — to expand its cloud operations and reduce its reliance on on-premises systems.
In a blog post, Boeing explained that although it already has relationships with all three companies, the majority of its applications are hosted and maintained on-premises in onsite servers, managed by itself or external partners. It said many of these legacy systems are aging and require a considerable amount of effort to maintain. As a result, it said, its reliance on these systems is a barrier to the development and deployment of new digital solutions.
By shifting the bulk of these workloads to the cloud, Boeing said it will be able to eliminate these infrastructure restraints while simplifying processes and creating easier and more secure access to information. That way, Boeing’s developers will be able to knuckle down and do what they do best — in particular developing applications more nimbly and unleashing additional opportunities across all business units.
Boeing Chief Information Officer Susan Doniz said the partnerships will enable the company to test new systems, or even an entire new aircraft, countless times before it’s deployed in the real world using digital twin technology, which can replicate entire systems in a realistic virtual environment.
“One of the biggest challenges to traditional hosting solutions is scalability – predicting, procuring, maintaining and paying for servers before a developer ever writes a single line of code,” Doniz said. “Cloud adoption unlocks those challenges by allowing developers to tap into additional storage or capacity when they need it. It’s like having a nationwide broadband network and we’re still using dial-up.”
Amazon said in a press release that Boeing will take advantage of its high-performance computing infrastructure services to design, build and test new applications, without getting into any specifics.
In any case, the partnership could lead to something exciting. Matt Garman, AWS’ senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the two companies share a “builder culture” and plan to take on “ambitious engineering feats” such as developing sustainable energy sources and working towards interplanetary human travel.
“Together, we will deliver more powerful, sustainable, and efficient aerospace design, engineering, and management solutions that will help Boeing customers today and in future aerospace travel,” he added.
Boeing said sustainability was one of its primary motivations for expanding into the cloud. By partnering with AWS, Microsoft and Google, it said, it will gain access to more energy efficient computing systems and technologies, as well as digital tools that will help it to reduce its carbon footprint. “No one company or industry can ensure a sustainable future alone,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond.