Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Air New Zealand criticizes IBM

The National Business Review wrote of the IBM failure:

A failed oil pressure sensor on a backup generator could be the reason Air New Zealand’s computer system crashed on Sunday [11 Oct 09] for six hours, IBM confirmed this morning.

The IT failure caused disruptions to more than 10,000 Air New Zealand customers, who were delayed by two hours on average. The computer failure affected the company's booking and check in systems. Passengers had to be manually checked in, which caused further delays.

BetaNews reported:

The CEO of Air New Zealand -- one of the few major CEOs anywhere to have been elevated to the top post from a CIO position -- expressed his disgust last weekend over what he describes as the poor handling of a data center failure at his airline's outsourcing partner, IBM. Rob Fyfe's e-mail, made public by IDG's Randal Jackson, excoriates IBM for its handling of a systems outage that took place at 9:30 am local time Friday morning, and that lasted for at least six hours.

Of needed redundancy, Ron Hughes was quoted:

"A properly designed Tier 3 data center -- which is the minimum level required for any critical applications -- should have no single points of failure in its design. In other words, the failure of a single piece of equipment should not impact the customer," Hughes told Betanews. "A generator failure is a fairly common event, which is why we build redundancy into a system. In a Tier 3 data center, if you need one generator to carry the load, you install two. If you need two, you install three. This is described as N+1 redundancy. It allows you to have a failure without impacting your ability to operate...In a Tier 3 data center, it should take 2 failure events before the customer is impacted."

Linux was also implicated:

The move to outsource data center operations to IBM appears to have happened partly under Fyfe's watch as CIO, and was heavily touted by the time by IBM's marketing literature as a "design win" for mainframe-based Linux. Though some mainframe database operations for ANZ came online as early as 1999, the most lucrative move came in August 2002, when the airline replaced its mid-range Windows NT-based in-house network made up of 150 Compaq z800 workstations, with a single eServer zSeries Linux outsourced mainframe hosted by IBM Global Services.

**IBM filed a couple of problem patent applications on outsourcing.


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