Finnair’s application modernisation experience.

Read how Nordcloud rearchitected and replatformed Finnair’s 20 applications in just 7 months with our unique, rapid modernisation approach.

  • 20 applications rearchitected and replatformed in 7 months
  • Helped Finnair achieve financial transparency
  • Generated significant savings for Finnair

Project Summary.

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The Client.

Finnair is Finland’s flagship airline. The company had worked with an outsourcing and data centre partner for more than 20 years and decided to migrate to the cloud at the end of their contract.

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Project Background.

We started working with Finnair 7 months before its contract end date. There were approximately 400 servers and 70 applications to get out of the data centre and into AWS in a way that would give Finnair a robust foundation for growth.

As part of the migration strategy process, we analysed Finnair’s application landscape and quantified the value of lift and shift versus modernisation for each one.


Tight timeline

Finnair had a looming data centre contract end date. We needed to meet this deadline, or the company would have to spend money to extend the arrangement.


During the strategy process, the Covid-19 pandemic struck Europe, leading to different working patterns among Finnair staff. The upside was that many applications weren’t operating at normal capacity because of the drastic reduction in travel.

Diverse application landscape

There was a real mixed bag of applications and databases accumulated over more than 20 years. Some were mission-critical. Some needed replatforming. Others needed rearchitecting to perform more effectively in AWS.

Lack of visibilty

Across that broad applications landscape, there were varying levels of documentation. A key driver for Finnair was gaining more control, and we had to bridge that gap during the modernisation process.


We had some tricky middle ware products that wouldn’t run well in AWS, plus there was an app tail from old projects. Rearchitecting and replatforming have enabled us to increase our savings and importantly gain more control over our assets as we develop new capabilities.

Tiina Flyström

Vice President, Common Platforms

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The Approach: Managed Cloud Migration.

Finnair used Managed Cloud Migration, a unique Nordcloud offering that helps customers reap cloud benefits quickly. It’s an operationally and financially savvy way to transition to the cloud because it eliminates migration risks while delivering 2 important benefits:

Zero up front costs

Finnair mitigated financial risks because costs were spread out over 3 years, leveraging available AWS funding and incorporated into the monthly opex for managed services. This gave Finnair closer alignment between cost and value.

Rapid ROI

Our managed services cloud engineers worked alongside our migration and modernisation experts throughout the process, leveraging cloud-native tooling and automation. As a result, there was no operational risk because everything was in place for cloud enablement straightaway.

A strategic approach to modernisation.

Modernisation isn’t necessarily about extensive refactoring. It’s about making strategic improvements that cut costs, expand functionality and improve security and stability. And that’s what we did for Finnair. We worked closely with teams at Finnair, AWS and the application owners to determine the best approach for each application based on the capabilities Finnair needed.

For some, we upgraded the operating system to improve security. For others, we modernised databases. And others we rearchitected so Finnair could access native services and optimise usage for AWS.

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Finnair had been using SAP with DB2 on AIX. We used this opportunity to drive a transformation to Hana DB – something customers had long been requesting. Thanks to the replatforming, Finnair achieved a double-digit percentage drop in costs.

Airflight maintenance and operations system (AMOS)

This mission-critical application relied on legacy technology and was constrained in its ability to scale in line with Finnair’s ambitions. We broke it down into 4 separate suites of software that migrated with a mixture of refactoring and lift and shift. It was the most challenging application on the project, but this approach has given Finnair greater agility for its expanding global footprint.


Finnair had approximately 200 integrations on AIX in production. We replatformed to either DB2 on Linux or Amazon RDS. We handled all the product licensing and generated significant savings for Finnair.

AIX applications

Finnair had business-critical applications and integrations on AIX, which we modernised with replatforming. Again, we handled all the licensing and helped reduce costs through licence optimisation.

We’re now in a strong position to evolve our technology stack in line with our transformation plan. This upfront rearchitecting and replatforming have put us in a strong position, and now we’re free of the data centre, it’s even easier to modernise ongoing.

Tomi Pienimaki

CDO, Finnair

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7 months and approximately 20 applications successfully rearchitected and replatformed.

Along with the lift and shift of 400 VMs and another 50 or so applications, Finnair was able to switch off its data centre as planned.

Finnair is now on track to achieve the double-digit TCO reduction outlined in the business case we developed for them.

A major factor in that drop is the capacity and licence savings achieved with the rearchitecting and replatforming. At the same time, they’ve reduced security and technical risks by eliminating legacy vulnerabilities and improving stability.

And they can make use of native AWS products and services that will help power strategic growth. And this was only the start of the journey the modernisation will continue as Finnair delivers on its digital transformation roadmap.

It’s an ambitious plan that now has a solid cloud foundation – and is set to drive post-pandemic recovery and longterm growth.

The business is saving a very significant amount of money on capacity, licences and managed services. We now have a very agile approach to using and delivering services, alongside KPIs to measure our applications.

Tiina Flyström

Head of Infrastructure & Cybersecurity, Finnair


How Finnair boosted value and TCO savings.

Not yet ready for a chat? Download our guide and read how we rearchitected and replatformed 20 applications in just 7 months with our unique, rapid modernisation approach.

Read how here

Get in Touch.

Let’s discuss how we can help with your cloud journey. Our experts are standing by to talk about your migration, modernisation, development and skills challenges.

Ilja Summala
Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.
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Group CTO