Sunday, August 14, 2016

Why the Airline Industry Could Keep Suffering System Failures

Laura Sydell (via Hacker News):

Delta canceled about 530 flights on Tuesday in addition to about 1,000 canceled a day earlier after a power outage in Atlanta brought down the company’s computers, grinding the airline’s operation virtually to a halt.


“Because they have to worry so much about safety and security, they are constrained in ways that other businesses aren’t,” he says. “Delta can’t just host its systems on Joe Blow’s cloud server somewhere else in the way that another business might be able to do.”

Kaplan says if Delta and other airlines distribute their computing to many different locations, it will make them more vulnerable to, say, hackers or terrorists. In other words, given a choice between more backup systems and more security, airlines are picking security.


First, AWS, Azure and GCE are not just “Joe Blow’s cloud server”, they are multi-billion dollar companies, and they all can provide hosting environments compliant with a multitude of security programs including SOC 1, 2, 3, PCI DSS, HIPAA, etc.

If a hospital can store patient records on AWS, why can’t Delta store my flight records there? If the government is worried that a public cloud leaves them open to terrorist attacks, then they can sponsor them to run on Gov Cloud for better isolation.


I am confused: they talk about terrorists & critically etc. And they have only 1 site holding their entire system with no backup? A couple of fibers to cut and those baddies cripple your airline?


There’s more information available now. Apparently part of their system switched to backups, but not all of it. A Delta rep says “We are actually fully operational, it’s just that we’re not able to use that newer interface.” Unclear what that means.

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