Last week an outage at Delta grounded planes worldwide. There was no devastating hack attempt, and the servers at Delta’s data center weren’t melting in a huge fire. The Week spoke to Delta COO Gil West, who said, “Monday morning a critical power control module at our Technology Command Center malfunctioned, causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power. When this happened, critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to backups. Other systems did. And now we’re seeing instability in these systems.”
Delta was crippled by a power outage. Most power outages hardly cause any service issues at airlines like Delta, let alone ground every flight worldwide. Even when there’s a huge emergency like a fire at the server farm, there’s an exact duplicate of the network in another data center somewhere – sometimes there’s even more than one duplicate. Delta has backups and failsafes in place, just like any other reasonable business. So why did this become such a massive issue?
The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s an issue endemic to the entire airline industry. Legacy systems – that is, old IT infrastructure – are the links holding up the processes that move planes full of people all over the world. When IT has a blind spot around one of these systems, it can nullify safety backups and cause problems like the one Delta recently dealt with. Worse, Delta experienced a slew of other issues as a result of the outage – crew and flight schedules were disrupted and other business functions were slowed or staggered.
Upgrading infrastructure can be difficult. Dealing with infrastructure-related outages is always worse. Liberty Technology is there for your business when you need to know how to use your upgrade budget, and we’re there the moment anything goes wrong.