Lufthansa Systems specialises in providing IT solutions, consulting and data centre services to the aviation industry. This is an industry that can barely afford any room for system failure or downtime, and Lufthansa systems offer data centre services, including application hosting, that guarantees a high uptime, disaster recovery programmes and on-demand support. As you would expect from an aviation data centre provider, security is high and all staff are comprehensively screened.

In 2013, Lufthansa Systems completely modernised all of its data centres, bringing them up to date with the latest technologies to ensure greater reliability for its airliner clients.

Data centre services offered by Lufthansa Systems are mostly tailored to individual clients. Service Level Agreements are flexible and offer the ability to grow the services in line with business growth. Whilst Lufthansa Systems predominantly offer managed server hosting, it has also provided virtualization and private cloud facilities to over 70% of its client base.

While services are mainly aimed at aviation clients, Lufthansa Systems continues to update its services to have wider appeal in the market.  In 2013, the company introduced CloudLounge, a secure cloud-based portal that allows SME’s to pick and choose the services they require, as well as how much of that service they would like to use. Credit card payments, flexible terms and scale-up and down sliders offer vast appeal to small firms that don’t benefit from a tailored and relatively expensive hosting service.

Location

Lufthansa Systems AG is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany and has offices in sixteen other countries. Data centres are located in Welwyn, near London and one each in Dallas and Singapore. There are four data centres in Germany in Kelsterbach, Hamburg, Norderstedt and Munich.

The tier-III Welwyn data centre is the latest addition to Lufthansa Systems’ data centre network. Storage is at 600 terabytes with a 2 petabyte back-up capacity and the site can host between 2000 and 2500 servers.  Kelsterbach is the other main player in the network, offering almost 7000 square meters of floor space and capacity to host more than 7000 servers.

Energy

Fewer industries are more aware of their impact on the environment than the aviation industry, and Lufthansa has made particular efforts to reduce its carbon footprint through its data centre network. The above mentioned overhaul of all of its data centres was driven by a need to upgrade, but also a need to make the centres more energy efficient.  The company now uses Dell data centre management tools to monitor, control and reduce energy use throughout the network.

Funding/business model

Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. In late 2014, the original Lufthansa Systems was split into three separate businesses and a deal was struck with IBM to take over the infrastructure ‘third’ and manage the data centre, help desk and printer services.  Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG emerged from the split to take on the IT and consulting aspects, whilst industry solutions will focus on consulting and system integration.

Despite the split, and the control of some parts farmed out to IBM, Lufthansa promises that customers will barely notice a difference and that all current services will be delivered as normal. In order to facilitate this, the separate companies will provide services to each other.

Customers and partners

Airline companies make up the bulk of Lufthansa Systems’ customer base, with over 300 using either hosted applications, data centre services or both. Finnair, for example, is a long-term user of its Netline/Sched schedule management application and decided in 2010 to become a full data centre based client. Thomas Cook’s IT infrastructure is based at the new London data centre.

In addition to airline and aviation related clients, Lufthansa Systems also provides services to more than 150 customers from other industries.

Lufthansa Systems collaborates with Microsoft on new technologies in a Global Alliance Partnership and hold gold partner status in six core areas, including hosting and server platforms. This allows it to offer private clouds locally or via a data centre.

A highly specialised service with significant scope for growth

Lufthansa Systems is undergoing some major structural changes which may, or may not, impact upon service delivery in the short term. Whilst cost saving is at the core of the radical changes, ultimately the business and its clients should benefit from partnership with one of the world’s leading IT specialists, IBM.

For aviation companies and businesses looking to benefit from the extensive expertise within both Lufthansa and IBM, the Lufthansa Systems are a good option longer term. In the short term, larger businesses may benefit from watching this space as the company adjusts to its new structure. For smaller companies, Lufthansa System’s data centres offer a great range of affordable facilities on a pick-n-mix basis with flexible terms and appear to offer good value.

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