American Airlines focuses on buying applications


American Airlines started a big code rewriting project a couple years ago, as it set out to move two of its most critical sets of applications off an old mainframe architecture and onto a distributed platform. But last January, the company reversed course and decided to purchase replacement software rather than build new applications whenever possible, report Johanna Ambrosio and Robert L. Mitchell at Computerworld.

The two sets off software being revamped make up the airline's Passenger Services System and the Flight Operating System , and they ran on the mainframe-based platform, Sabre, for more than four decades. The airline, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, tended to upgrade the FOS by buying, rather than building, but it preferred to rewrite apps when the PSS needed updating, Ambrosio and Mitchell report. Looking for a faster time to market and cost savings, the airline started a major overhaul of the systems two years ago.

The decision to focus on buying rather than building when it came to modernizing the systems was made by Maya Leibman, who was named CIO at the airline a month after the bankruptcy protection filing. "We questioned whether it made sense to make the tremendous investment of time and resources that go along with building something yourself--or look for something that others had already built and tested," she said.

For more:
- see Ambrosio and Mitchell's article at Computerworld

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