Deutsche Bahn (DB) has now transferred its entire IT to the cloud and closed its own data centre, which means DB has completed one of its largest IT projects two years earlier than scheduled. In 2016, the Group had decided to fundamentally restructure its IT. Since then, around 450 applications have been migrated to the cloud. The main advantage is greater flexibility: computing power or memory automatically adapts to demand in real time. This also benefits passengers, because the systems run reliably even under extreme load, for example timetable information continues to be provided in the event of a storm.
Christa Koenen, Head of IT at DB: "Our IT is now completely in the cloud. This makes us a European pioneer and one of the first large corporations to rely entirely on the cloud. This decision has proven to be absolutely right in times of Corona. Our IT systems also worked without a hitch when tens of thousands of employees switched to working from home all at the same time. We were also able to operate our IT fully remotely. That wouldn't have been so easy with physical data centres."
In the cloud, it is possible to deploy a virtual server, including computing power, storage and a network, in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the higher levels of stability and reliability are enormously important, especially in a crisis. Stable IT operations are the prerequisite for stable railway operations. In the future, everything new – such as new services based on artificial intelligence – will be created in the cloud itself. In this way, DB intends to further increase the speed of digitalisation and implement innovations and new customer services more quickly.
DB has sold its data centre. Almost all of the approximately 1,000 employees affected continue to work as IT experts in the company, many of them in the cloud environment. "I am very pleased that our experienced colleagues are continuing to work with us on the digitalisation of the railways," said Koenen. "We tried to make the new start as easy as possible." Supported by training, coaching and consulting, the employees have familiarised themselves with their new tasks. Deutsche Bahn also benefits immensely as an employer. Every year, DB recruits around 1,000 IT and digital experts, and the trend is rising.
DB data is encrypted in accordance with privacy regulations and stored exclusively on European servers in Germany and the Netherlands.