Virgin Blue looks to remotely manage commodity IT

Virgin Blue looks to remotely manage commodity IT

IT staff freed to work on reservation system overhaul, new SOA, ILM, virtualisation initiatives

Virgin Blue general manager of IT, David Harvey

Virgin Blue general manager of IT, David Harvey

Virgin Blue has extended its relationship with outsourcing partner Verizon Australia to include the remote management of several of the airline’s core business applications.

Under the arrangement, Verizon will monitor Virgin’s key revenue management, engineering, aircraft-to-ground data transfers, back office communications and business productivity applications.

If the remote management roll out is successful, the airline will look to extend the relationship across its wider server infrastructure and application stacks, such as its database management, according to the company’s general manager of IT, David Harvey.

“The broader strategy is to [have Verizon] do things that are the commodity end… and free our people to work on new projects,” he said. “The other is that when we launched V Australia, we launched some technologies for which we didn’t have the skills internally. Rather than canvass the market and build up the capability internally, we looked at this as an opportunity to transition those to a partner.”

The Verizon deal will also free up about eight of the airline’s 30 IT infrastructure staff to work on the airline’s overhaul of the reservation systems for its domestic flights business announced earlier in the year, said Harvey.

“That’s a very big piece of work and there are lots of infrastructure components around it,” he said. “It is very much under way. The target is to have it in this year.”

The company is also looking at a larger transformation initiative involving redesigning the system architecture to incorporate projects around virtualisation, information lifecycle management (ILM), and service oriented architecture (SOA), Harvey said.

“They are still in embryo stage in terms of the overlay on our application stack, but in the next six months they will start to translate to projects,” he said. “It’s all about speed to market and our ability to service the business in what it wants to do next.”

The airline is also busily expanding its network and adding new ports for Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue and V-Australia, with IT teams looking at setting up operations in Phuket and Johannesburg, Harvey said.

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