Monday, August 8, 2016

No backup generator for Delta?

Delta's main computer system went down early this morning, and Delta announced that it was canceling flights world wide until they bring the computers back up.  Delta claims a power failure at their main computer site caused the outage.  And stranded passengers all around the world.
Question for you Delta.  Where was the back up generator at your site?  In the Air Force we had diesel backup generators for crucial stuff, the tower, the radar approach control, the runway lights, the instrument landing system, the electronic navigation aids.  Where was Delta's backup power for this absolutely crucial computer system? 


DCE said...

The server farm had much higher priority loads to handle like Pokemon GO, so the server farm IT guys had to do some load shedding and Delta got the short straw.

Priorities, Dave! Priorities!

Dstarr said...

You gotta be kidding. You say Delta is too cheap to operate their own computers, at their own site, under their control?

DCE said...

I am being a facetious, but only a little.

Fewer corporations are running their own data centers. Instead they contract it out to another firm. The servers themselves may belong to the corporation, but it is all managed by the contractor. That has become more prevalent as cloud services have come into being, meaning a series of servers are not necessarily exclusive to a particular customer or customer operation. Their data can be spread across multiple servers in multiple locations. It is all heavily encrypted, so security is less of an issue. (No system is every totally secure unless it is air-gapped, meaning no actual connection to a network and very limited access by personnel, but many are extremely sophisticated and as secure as any system can be today.)

The other problem Delta had was that they had no parallel redundant system. Call it a big RAID system, but for an entire data center, preferably located well away from the primary system. This way if there is a catastrophic failure everything switches over the redundant system with little or no hiccup seen by the users. The financial trading systems use triple-redundancy, with one system located far away from the other two systems. The financial institutions learned that lesson after 9/11. But I digress...

But you are right, there should have been some kind of emergency power capability at Delta's server farm.

Only systems requiring secure (and exclusive) access will have their own server farm(s). They share nothing with anyone. Airlines should probably do that. Banks and financial institutions do, as do some government/defense contractors.