Deutsche Bahn is in the cloud

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 Deutsche Bahn switches off all of its own servers and relies entirely on the cloud. The data of the ticket booking system now also runs through the data centers of the US companies Microsoft and Amazon.

Deutsche Bahn has completed the relocation of its entire information technology (IT) to the cloud, i.e. to an external network of computers. This enabled the company's own data centers to be shut down two years earlier than planned. Deutsche Bahn is "Europe-wide pioneer" and one of the first large corporations to consistently rely on the cloud, said the group's IT boss, Christa Koenen.

Relocation initiated in 2016

The changeover had already been decided in 2016. The aim of this step is to operate the approximately 450 IT applications of Deutsche Bahn more flexibly and more cheaply. According to Deutsche Bahn, this decision proved to be the right one even in times of the corona pandemic. "Our IT systems also worked noiselessly when tens of thousands of employees switched to home office at the same time," said Koenen. In addition, the railway was able to operate the IT completely remotely. "With physical data centers it wouldn't have been so easy.

At peak times, the railway itself operated around 8,000 servers in order to evaluate the enormous amounts of data from trains and the railway infrastructure. This includes selling tickets via apps and the Bahn website. With more than 1500 bookings per minute, Deutsche Bahn operates one of the largest ticket systems in Europe. The tasks of rail IT also include operating the infrastructure for the DB Navigator smartphone app or monitoring the status of 28,000 turnouts in real time. Through the remote control of the switches alone, around 3,600 faults were detected and prevented at an early stage last year.

Use of Microsoft and Amazon data centers

The changeover means that your own rail servers are now a thing of the past. Everything is cloud-based and runs through Microsoft and Amazon data centers, which provide storage space and computing power over the Internet with their Azure and AWS services. In order to meet the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Deutsche Bahn encrypts the stored data so that only it has access to it. In addition, the providers have been obliged in special contracts to comply with data protection regulations.

The servers of the US corporations commissioned are located in Frankfurt / Main and in the Netherlands. Deutsche Bahn has sold its own data center in Berlin-Mahlsdorf. According to the company, almost all of the approximately 1,000 employees affected continue to work as IT experts in the company.