Centralizing and Concentrating: Works Great Until It Does Not

April 1, 2019

No joke or joke? Let’s assume the story is true.

US airlines are proving that centralizing and concentrating online services works great until the system fails. I read “Computer Outage Affecting Major US Airlines including Southwest, Delta and United Causes Hundreds of Flight Delays Nationwide.” (I first saw the news in a UK stream from the Daily Mail, a British newspaper.) As I write this at 910 am US Eastern (April 1, 2019), the story is now appearing in other feeds. The problem appears to be one with software called Aerodata. By 840 am US Eastern time, more than 700 flights were affected.

What seems to be lousy systems administration, engineering, or business processes have made April 1, 2019, into unpleasant anecdotes, not frothy jokes.

Aerodata’s Web site cheerfully reports my public IP address which, not surprisingly, is not what my IP address is. The Web site requires Flash, a super unsecure software in my opinion. I was not able to locate current news from the company. I noticed that VMWare mentions that the company uses VSAN to power a modern software defined data center.  You can read the marketing inspired explanation at this link or you could at 917 am US Eastern on April 1, 2019.

According the a Chicago NBC outlet, all is well again. You can get this take at this link.

What happens if a cyber attack takes down a concentrated service?

Stephen E Arnold, April 1, 2019


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