Finnair’s Cloud migration strategy & TCO assessment.

Read how Nordcloud helped formulate a business case and develop a cloud migration strategy – all within 1 month.

  • Achieved cloud migration strategy in 4 weeks
  • Formulated business case in less than 1 month
  • Provided evidence based TCO assessment in 2 weeks

Project Summary.

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Project duration:

The Client.

Finnair is Finland’s flagship airline. The foundation for its strategy is seen in the high quality of its operations, Helsinki’s favourable geographic position, growing focus markets, clear goals to increase revenue, modern fuel-efficient fleet as well as a strong balance sheet.

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Project Background.

Finnair worked with the same partner for more than 20 years, and were looking at how digital transformation could reduce costs, boost agility and power strategic growth.

To renew or not to renew? Public cloud or hybrid? If public cloud, which hyper – scaler? And then, what would be the best way to manage the infrastructure and applications, considering costs and the company’s existing skills base?

These are the questions Finnair was weighing up as they considered how to drive their transformation.

Finnair’s transformation drivers.

Save money

Margins are under pressure in the aviation industry, and Finnair was looking for a way to reduce costs and scale services based on demand. They also knew there was an opportunity to cost-optimise their architecture across applications, databases and licences.

Reduce technical debt

Applications and databases worked, but many relied on legacy tech – and would benefit from rearchitecting and replatforming to give Finnair access to new innovation opportunities. They wanted to upgrade and create a more secure environment while eliminating the tail of old projects taking up capacity.

Boost agility

The existing estate was deep, which meant releases took longer than they’d like. Finnair wanted its tech stack to put them in a stronger position to grow market share.

Get more control

Finnair still wanted a partner for ongoing management (they didn’t have an inhouse ops team), but they wanted more visibility. They didn’t want to outsource into a black box. The aim was to gain transparency, making it easier to maintain the environment and manage costs.


Finnair was facing a hard deadline – their existing data centre con – tract was ending in 7 months, and they needed to do something with approximately 400 servers and 70 applications. As they were considering their options, the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

This essentially brought the global travel industry to a halt. Finnair had to make rapid changes to their ways of working. And they had to re-think their approach to digital transformation.

Agility and cost savings, became even more critical

Finnair needed the ability to scale up and down as required, and they needed an approach that didn’t involve long contract commitments.

Transformation needed to enable rapid recovery

In addition to helping Finnair weather the pandemic, the approach needed to provide a foundation for quickly bouncing back to pre-pandemic success (and building on it to realise those long-term growth ambitions)

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Rapid assessment to develop the business case.

  • In two weeks, we presented Finnair with an evidence-based TCO assessment.
  • We recommended a full migration to AWS Cloud – they were already using AWS for their cloud-native applications.
  • Following a tool-driven review of Finnair’s infrastructure and application estate, we calculated a double-digit TCO reduction with the migration.
  • We also realised the pandemic also offered a unique opportunity. With the drastic reduction in travel, mission-critical applications weren’t operating at normal capacity. This would reduce the complexity surrounding the process.

We talked to several prospec – tive partners, and Nordcloud stood out. They were cloudnative, were big enough to scale the way we needed and were totally agile.

Tiina Flyström

Head of Infrastructure & Cybersecurity, Finnair

Our Migration Approach.

The rapid assessment and business case showed that migrating to AWS would give Finnair the savings, scal – ability and technical capabilities they needed to meet their short-term needs – while driving their post-pandemic growth ambitions.

There were 2 final challenges to address as we developed the migration strategy:


We had to get their 400 VMs and 70 applications out of the data centre before the contract ended.


There were 2 elements to this. In the short term, the pandemic was leading to team changes and furloughs, which affected their in-house capacity to support the migration process. Finnair also needed ongoing operational support – it had relied on its outsourcing partner and didn’t have its own operations team.

Managed Cloud Migration.

To address certain these challenges and make it easy for Finnair to realise the business case, we recommended Managed Cloud Migration with the right AWS funding. It is a unique Nordcloud offering that reduces risks and helps customers reap cloud benefits more quickly.

Zero upfront costs

Instead, costs are spread out over 3 years, incorporated into the monthly opex for managed services.

Rapid ROI

Our managed services cloud engineers work alongside our migration and modernisation experts throughout the process, leveraging cloud-native tooling and automation. That way, ongoing managed cloud considerations are incorporated from the beginning and at every stage. And because we manage workloads and applications from day 1, you quickly reap the cost and business benefits of cloud.

An exceptional thing about Nordcloud was the way they worked with AWS and clearly presented the vendor funding options. They were the only prospective partner that put funding on the table for us in that way.

Tiina Flyström

Head of Infrastructure & Cybersecurity, Finnair

Lift And Shift VS Rearchitecting And Replatforming.

As part of our technical and application discovery, we used a rules engine to decide which migration approach was best for each of the 70 applications.

Cloud-native tooling

We combined technical and application data and used customised parameters specific to Finnair’s needs.

Optimised strategy

We analysed every application and quantify the value of lift and shift versus rearchitecting and replatforming – mapping out a combination that delivered the best outcome.

Our Solution.

Based on our analysis, much of Finnair’s estate could be lifted and shifted. However, approximately 20 applications would benefit from rearchitecting and replatforming – to capitalise on licence savings or because they were based on legacy solutions that couldn’t migrate in their current form.

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In just 1 month, Finnair had a cloud migration strategy that would:

Deliver a double-digit TCO reduction

Get them out of their data centre on time

Position them to maximise ongoing value from the cloud

Strategic Migration.

From SAP to maintenance, repair and operations software and from AIX to DB2 – we planned a migration approach that enabled Finnair to move away from its restrictive legacy tech and into AWS native products and services.
And because we would manage each application and workload as it was migrated and modernised, ongoing optimisation would be embedded in the process.


Finnair’s complete cloud migration in just 7 months.

See how we helped Finnair move approximately 400 VMs and 70 applications to the cloud in 7 months with a Nordcloud Managed Cloud Migration.

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.
Ilja Summala LinkedIn
Group CTO