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DB Enterprise Cloud

Tailor-made cloud solutions in the Group

06/2016 - The first steps toward introducing cloud solutions at DB have already been taken. Not only do IT budgets profit from this technology; the cloud also has enormous potential for the majority of companies in the Group. Data, documents, programs ─ even entire servers ─ can now be accessed virtually on demand.

Everybody’s talking about digitalisation and reducing costs. It is in this context in particular that IT services such as storage, computing capacity and databases must be readily accessible. Data protection also needs to be ensured, active use must be convenient and flexible, and invoicing usage-compliant and transparent. When in doubt, users also want to be able to manage their software in a decentralised manner, on their own terms and without any bureaucracy – regardless whether an in-house development or market product is involved.

DB Systel therefore partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) back in 2014 to jointly create “DB Enterprise Cloud”, a platform that caters to these objectives. This platform allows IT applications to be migrated in the cloud either as “managed services” (coordinated primarily by the service provider) or as “unmanaged services” (the customer is required to oversee many aspects of operation).

Data is protected

One of the key operative tasks of DB Systel in realizing this platform was to implement solid data protection. To this end, an exemplary yet pragmatic data protection policy had to be integrated. Although Amazon Web Services (AWS) ─ a U.S. partner ─ was brought on board, the relevant servers are located in Frankfurt, Germany.

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The contract concluded with AWS also takes into account all German legal requirements and Group-internal regulations so that applications that demand a high level of security can also be realised in DB Enterprise Cloud. Early cloud users like DB Regio Bus have therefore placed so much faith and trust in the Deutsche Bahn cloud that they now feel even more secure than before.

Expertise confirmed on the outside

The fact that DB has been able to thoroughly integrate itself in the cloud is a direct result of the professional structures maintained by DB Systel, attests AWS Account Manager Stefan Herbert: “For such a large organisation, Deutsche Bahn was quite late to discover the cloud. It made up for this, however, by taking gigantic leaps in record time and is now in a better position than some Dax companies.” Herbert found the reason for such progress in the available organisational structure. “Other groups frequently have a less-than-perfect IT management programme. The professionally organised structure and expertise of DB Systel have afforded Deutsche Bahn a major advantage in establishing a cloud competence centre.”

Profiting efficiently from the benefits of the cloud

Erik Gailing, Head of Pre-Sales & Consulting at DB Systel, stresses that cloud-based solutions offer a great deal of benefits. If low average loads are placed on the IT systems of a company, for example, and these systems sometimes experience very high peaks, the flexibility of the cloud can be used efficiently while at the same time saving costs. The standardisation and scaling effects of the highly automated cloud solutions can also result in lower costs. Flexible cloud-based solutions likewise make it possible to launch new components or services on the market much more quickly and flexibly, which in turn allows customers to optimise their business processes and models accordingly.

Erik Gailing
© Deutsche Bahn AG

How exactly these benefits can break down when it comes to specific applications and systems is investigated through on-boarding from DB Systel. Along with this process not only consulting services are offered, but also a detailed introduction process designed to find the right solution and identify targeted areas of improvement that many customers may not have even known about. If the customer is looking for less in-house IT expertise and is more interested in delegating responsibility for security and availability to his service provider, a managed cloud solution is the best choice in terms of overall practicality. Unmanaged cloud-based solutions represent an alternative for customers who prefer to continue “being in the loop” by personally looking after their IT systems.

Gailing does not want to raise any false expectations, however: “The cloud is not an end-all, cure-all approach to realising cost-reduction programmes and should be viewed much more as the infrastructure of the future that can achieve many more things than simply saving money. It is therefore important that the different applications, models and cloud options available be carefully considered before making a transition.

What is on the horizon

Erik Gailing knows that DB Systel cannot afford to look back and admire the success it has achieved and has already thought about the next step. “AWS has proven to be a reliable partner. What could be possible in future, however, is that we also collaborate with additional partners to facilitate something of a “cloud brokerage” so that the most affordable and cost-effective solutions can be provisioned.” In this constellation, DB Systel would play the role of the cloud broker. Similar to the administrator of a mutual investment fund, Systel could then switch between providers and respond to fluctuations in order to offer customers even more attractive business models. In-house servers operated by DB Systel could then also be used for the cloud-based solution, which coordinates nine petabyte hard drives and backup storage systems installed across three data centres for a grand total of nine million gigabytes ─ more than enough space for a dedicated cloud environment.

Seeing through the maze of clouds

Those who would like to profit from the cloud in future will not be able to do this without having first come to grips with a few key terms. The following summarizes the most important cloud variants for you:

Public cloud

Offered by a public provider that makes open access available to anyone over the Internet. The provider saves data in its IT infrastructure and leverages it to also provision services on the Web.

Private cloud

Companies take data protection and IT security very seriously, which is why they frequently have a vested interest in making their IT services available only to their own employees and keep their data and information “in house”. In a private cloud that is built on a company’s own infrastructure, however, users can profit from the benefits typically associated with a cloud-based solution, such as programme scalability.

Hybrid cloud

As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud is a type of dual-purpose platform on which non-critical data is available in the public cloud while sensitive data remains in the company. In order for this setup to work, data must be separated clearly and distinctly.

DB Enterprise Cloud

DB Systel maintains a special configuration, whereby a virtual private cloud protected by an access restriction policy is used on the open infrastructure of service provider AWS. DB Enterprise Cloud from DB Systel therefore has the same characteristic properties as those of a private cloud except that it resides within the AWS infrastructure.

If you can access the intranet from your device, you can click on the following link to go to the website for the cloud computing solution of the DB Group for more information.

The DB Enterprise Cloud website

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The DB Enterprise Cloud offering is available to all potential customers of DB Systel and can be custom tailored with respect to the level of vertical integration required. To what extent should DB Systel provision its infrastructure, programs and know-how? DB Enterprise Cloud offers managed and unmanaged services. These currently include “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) and “Platform as a Service” (PaaS). Software as a Service (SaaS) is currently in the preparation phase. Experts like to draw reference to the pizza chef metaphor when explaining services (see info. box). The different models, possibilities and options are individually coordinated with the customer’s requirements during the on-boarding process.

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