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The Delta Disaster

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 19:24 -- Rachel Cunningham

After Delta Airlines left thousands of flyers stranded Monday morning due to a power outage at their headquarters, we would like to stress the importance of having the right battery backup (UPS) solution or extensive recovery plan for your server room to avoid a complete system shutdown.

Analysis of the failure of Delta’s computer systems Monday pointed to a power surge in a transformer and a failure to switch over to backup infrastructure. This was an equipment glitch that brought one of the biggest U.S. airlines to its knees. What if it had been a cyberattack?

Southwest Airlines had a similar scare last month after a system outage caused them to cancel almost 1200 flights. The US airline industry is too powerful to be experiencing this kind of fragile disaster recovery. Businesses should view this as a lesson on the importance of quality data center power and disaster control systems.

Planning and executing disaster recovery exercises is something that should be done on a regular basis to find out these issues before they may be impactful," said Mark Jaggers, a Gartner data center recovery and continuity analyst. "The issue, which was also the case with Southwest Airlines, is not planning for partial failure scenarios that are harder to get to the root cause of and work around."

To avoid shutdowns like Delta's, company data centers should have redundant power and networking, preferably from a grid and provider, respectively, that are completely independent from the primary ones, Jaggers said.

Smaller businesses should determine what business operations are most critical. Then, consider factors that impact recovery time requirements, such as revenue loss, safety, and brand reputation, and build your recovery infrastructure accordingly.

Disaster recovery should be something that your business practices and updates regularly. Disaster can occur from man made mistakes or from mother nature. Have a battery backup solution and a trustworthy IT team like behind you, just in case. 


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