Airlines: Upgrading Your Engines While “In Flight”

Post • 3 min read

For all enterprises, digital service continuity is a must-have. In day to day operations this requirement is unquestioned. 

However, in legacy environments it’s commonplace for scheduled downtime to be required during upgrade and maintenance activities. 

These conflicting requirements lead to a situation where upgrades and maintenance are batched together, and not performed as and when demanded, simply because of the business requirement for minimal downtime.

Zero service outage

One of the many differences when cloud technologies are used, is that many of these migrate, upgrade, patch and maintain operations can be performed with no service outage. Using an aviation analogy - it's like upgrading your engines from piston to gas turbine, while in flight. Pretty cool. 

The ability to perform these actions with no service outage opens the door to DevSecOps as a fully fledged opportunity, which is a critical capability for enterprises.

This covers the majority of issues, but there are still outlier issues that can and have had a massive negative impact on the operations of airlines.

We know the aviation industry is fast-moving, not just from a business transaction perspective, but also in the way that external factors can impact the operational performance of the business. It means that forces outside the control of the airline can have a negative or immediate stopping effect on sales. 

Consider this; bookings on an aircraft flight are a totally perishable product, they cannot be shelved and sold at a future date. 

The demands of the industry mean that service outages must be minimised. So - how do you make the necessary migrations to cloud and modernisations in cloud, with minimal or zero outage?

It’s like trying to upgrade from a propeller engine to a jet engine while in flight, in one move.  Sound impossible? Ambitious?

Yes, it can be done

OK, not impossible. Definitely not too ambitious, but for sure extraordinarily difficult and impractical. But from an IT perspective this is precisely what we do for the airline industry. 

Our methods and tools allow us to maintain full service delivery, all while the legacy workloads are migrated to the cloud and modernized to be built on resilient, scalable and cost effective cloud native technologies.

We have a couple of examples where we’ve done this:

My colleagues and I have worked on over 1,000 public cloud implementations. In my own 25-year career, I’ve seen lots of messy, cobbled-together legacy infrastructure. And no problem has been insurmountable. Yes, some challenges have been harder to address than others – but they have all been solvable. For most aviation companies, the solution will be a cloud-first approach, and we're here to help our with that. Fill in the form below to get in touch, we'd love to help you get started.

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Cormac Walsh
Cormac Walsh LinkedIn
Global Industry Leader - Aerospace