Airline Data Center Outage Reveals Redundancy Flaws, Makes Case for the Cloud

With a data center outage recently delaying more than 2,000 Delta flights, the vulnerabilities of legacy computing systems became clear, according to various experts commenting on the extensive grounding of the airline’s fleet.

In a Fast article, Airfarewatchdog President George Hobica said, “The airlines are dealing with a hodgepodge of equipment that’s been cobbled together over the years.” In some cases, the equipment is more than 20 years old, he said. Another problem, he pointed out, is that, unlike other companies, airlines can’t afford to shut completely down for maintenance.

With the Delta fiasco hardly being the only major outage impacting an enterprise company, it highlights how larger companies have been slow to adopt the benefits of the cloud, which has helped adopters avoid outages.

Airline Data Center Outage Reveals Redundancy Flaws, Makes Case for the CloudThat outage followed in the wake of Southwest recently grounding 2,300 flights because of a faulty router and United Continental postponing flights for the same reason.

Kalev Leetaru, a technology expert and Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, noted that the risks for extended outages are significantly diminished for those using the cloud.

“When they do occur, the companies are able to turn to large teams of elite engineers, often the ones who wrote the core pieces of software and architecture that run today’s computing environments, to fix them quickly,” he said.

With cloud services providing backup options and redundancy, larger companies may increasingly seek ways to integrate those solutions as part of their systems. The alternative appears to be costing them millions.

According to ZDNET, these companies need to do the following:

  • Move mission-critical systems to the cloud, whether to public or private infrastructures. The ability to recover quickly from an outage is among the advantages.
  • Update old systems. Investments need to be made to replace old infrastructure with new solutions.
  • Adopt agile approaches. Move to an agile model as part of any deployment moving forward.
Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.