At Deutsche Bahn, the digitalization journey leads directly into the clouds: As part of the ShapeIT implementation program at DB Systel and the consistent Cloud-first approach, as many applications, products and service as possible are being migrated to DB Enterprise Cloud – a process that is taking place in all parts of the company.
For some business segments, the migration of their services to the cloud is a special challenge – as is the case for DB Vertrieb. In this case, it should be possible to tap into the advantages of the cloud as quickly as possible, considering that its processes have a direct impact on Deutsche Bahn end customers, such as travellers or travel agents. With their high public visibility, they contribute to the image of Deutsche Bahn. This is especially true when something goes wrong. In light of this, migration is a task that demanded close attention from the very start. It was clear even then that the relocation of travel information and the bahn.de booking application into the cloud would demand a huge amount of effort from all those involved. Nevertheless, DB Vertrieb was easily convinced of its necessity – especially in light of these processes. To organize the transfer into the cloud and to orchestrate the cooperation between DB Systel, DB Vertrieb and external partners, a project organization named Cloud@DBVertrieb was set up.
The project organization accepted this challenge in a very systematic way: By bundling the cloud activities included in the Cloud@DB Group program, it was possible to prepare especially important applications for migration well in advance. The next step was to migrate the entire ecosystem. This system has a long history – and it was not at all clear at the beginning whether the applications, which in part are 15 to 20 years old, could even be operated in the cloud. “The processes at DB Vertrieb are special in that we do not have individual and partially independent processes here, but rather a complete ecosystem with strong dependencies, even into the classical computing centre,” said Dietmar Topp, Project Manager of Cloud@DB.
Mammoth project serves as a model
The advantages of the cloud can be nicely illustrated by the travel information and booking application of bahn.de: Certain situations, such as weather phenomena or marketing campaigns, frequently lead to extreme load fluctuations when seeking information or booking tickets. In non-cloud solutions, failures are prevented by means of computing capacities and security solutions with considerable redundancies. In contrast, the cloud infrastructure makes expanded capacities available directly at all times. For the travel information, this availability is at times dynamic, since the required capacities are automatically made available by means of Cloud Mechanisms as loads increase. This leads to better efficiency as only those IT resources are paid for that are actually used.
In addition to the positive economic effects, application performance was improved and updated safety requirements were implemented in the course of the cloud migration. Furthermore: “In addition to travel information and the booking system of bahn.de – which is the largest process of DB Vertrieb and also one of the largest travel platforms in Europe – other processes also profited directly from the cloud migration,” says Dr. Helmut Kramer, Program Director for DB Vertrieb.
Cloud@DBVertrieb was already successfully completed in June 2019, after approx. 20 months. All core processes of DB Vertrieb were migrated into DB Enterprise Cloud, and the background systems for all sales channels – from the operating terminal at the DB Travel Centre to the automatic ticket machines – are already running on DB Enterprise Cloud. Only one process from accounting and some remaining components are still undergoing migration. “One of the main factors that contributed to conquering this mammoth task was the collaborative and trusting partnership that arose from the joint project organization consisting of DB Vertrieb and DB Systel,” says Dr. Steffen Kunz, CIO Division DB Vertrieb.
In addition to the high level of knowledge in the operating and development teams, Dietmar Topp identifies another factor that lead to the success of the migration: “Dedicated subproject managers were assigned to the various applications and managed the migration for both DB Vertrieb and DB System from the beginning to the end.” This is clearly a model for success – not only for DB Vertrieb but for the entire Group.