Amazon, Google, Microsoft? Boeing picks all 3 for cloud services

Boeing engineers huddle over a computer to work on an aircraft design. (Boeing Photo / Bob Ferguson)

The billion-dollar competition to provide Boeing with cloud computing services is finished, and the winner is a three-way split. Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft are all getting a share of the business, Boeing announced today.

In a LinkedIn post, Susan Doniz, Boeing’s chief information officer and senior VP for information technology and data analytics, called it a “multi-cloud partnership.”

“This represents a significant investment in digital tools that will empower Boeing’s next 100 years,” she wrote. “These partnerships strengthen our ability to test a system – or an aircraft – hundreds of times using digital twin technology before it is deployed.”

Doniz said that becoming more cloud-centric will provide Boeing with “global scalability and elasticity without having to predict, procure, maintain and pay for on-premises servers.”

Financial details relating to the multi-cloud partnership were not provided.

Historically, most of Boeing’s applications have been hosted and maintained through on-site servers that are managed by Boeing or external partners. You could argue Boeing’s extensive intranet blazed a trail for today’s cloud computing services.

“Marketing and performing computer services involves a whole new way of doing business,” Boeing President TA Wilson declared in 1970 when Boeing Computer Services was formed.

In recent years, Boeing has been transitioning from its own aging computer infrastructure to cloud providers. For example, in 2016 the company chose Microsoft Azure to handle a significant proportion of its data analytics applications for commercial aviation.

At the time, that was considered a “notable win” for Microsoft, but Boeing has also maintained relationships with AWS, Google and other cloud providers.

Some had expected Boeing to pick a primary provider as a result of the just-concluded bidding process. Last year, The Information quoted its sources as saying that the deal could be worth at least $ 1 billion over the course of several years – and that Andy Jassy, ​​who is now Amazon’s CEO, saw it as a “must-win” for AWS.

But if Boeing is favoring one member of the troika cloud above the others, it’s being careful not to tip its hand publicly – to such an extent that today’s announcement consistently lists the three companies in alphabetical order. (If you happen to know who the big winner is, send us a tip.)

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