Earlier this week Delta Airlines’ computer systems suffered a catastrophic failure, leading to the grounding of over 1,000 flights and delays to countless more. Analysts attributed the colossal service interruption to a power outage in Atlanta that crippled its network infrastructure. Given the cobbled-together nature of the airlines systems, it’s not hugely surprising that one of the many points of failure eventually gave way. After all, each time Delta absorbed another airline, the systems had to be integrated together on the fly… pun intended.
But what stands out to me are two main points. The first, that I just can’t seem to ignore, is how on earth the systems for one of the worlds more prominent airlines didn’t have gasoline powered generators to cover at least 24 hours of downtime. I’m just going to leave it at that.
What seems to be a much more common problem, is that Delta just continued to kick the can down the road when it comes to business continuity. In typical old-guard fashion, execs under scrutiny of the board and/or stockholders didn’t make the necessary investments in infrastructure to ensure that if a failure did take place, a reasonable RTO (Recovery Time Objective) could be achieved. It’s not as pretty as a new fleet of planes or fancy accommodations in the admiral’s club, but when it comes down to overall customer satisfaction, ensuring that your systems are available will always reign supreme.
In today’s world, merely having a backup of your data won’t cut it. Businesses are no longer able to tolerate an interruption to their technology services and ensuring that systems can fail-over within minutes is the new standard. Hopefully the failures of titans like Delta can teach smaller companies valuable lessons in how to properly allocate funds for IT; specifically, when it comes to the resiliency of their infrastructure.