The Airline Industry in the Amazon (AWS) Cloud

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The airline industry has always been ripe for technological innovation. Areas such as flight optimization and predictive maintenance – along with the large amounts of data generated from bookings and reservation systems – provide an opportunity to accelerate aviation’s digital transformation through analytics-based applications and large-scale integration in the cloud. The benefits of the cloud for the airline industry are clear.

Cloud computing can be used in the airline industry in a variety of ways, including estimating travel times, identifying aircraft, emission controls, traffic modeling, integrating fare management, and increasing effectiveness of customer loyalty programs. Cloud computing also provides airlines with a highly scalable infrastructure, as well as availability and innovation. When it comes to availability for example, airlines can store their availability data in the public cloud. This data can then be accessed by an airline’s website, a travel agency, or other source. Carriers can then manage this availability for the different channels through a single source.

Moving to the AWS Cloud

AWS gives airlines the opportunity to leverage the benefits of the cloud for application creation, deployment, and management – and for managing the mass amounts of content and data that these carriers hold. Understanding these challenges, airlines such as LOT Polish Airlines, GOL Airlines, and Qantas have all recently turned to AWS cloud services for their data needs. In Qantas’ case, they were attempting to run a new flight leg from Sydney to Dallas. Their legacy systems could not handle the compute power required to run the analysis around determining if this type of flight was possible. Using their legacy system, it would have taken Qantas four months to run the algorithm.

So they pushed their data to AWS, and brought the computational timeframe down to just four hours, enabling the algorithms to calculate up to 15,000 different routes! To comply with industry regulations, airlines can also use the Amazon Shared Responsibility Model to help cover companies on the physical security of their data center. They can use Amazon Redshift, as well, to provide database encryption for clusters, and help protect data at rest. When customers enable encryption for a cluster, Amazon Redshift encrypts all data – including backups – by using hardware-accelerated Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-256 symmetric keys. To run robust operations on top of Amazon, including (for example) complete control over security groups’ configuration, airlines can automate their AWS  backup and recovery across accounts, with the ability to keep multiple replicas of the data across AWS regions.

Airline Industry Challenges

Simply put, airlines must turn to the cloud to modernize their systems. With aircraft maintenance support carriers must be able to request, replace, and keep up a comprehensive show of airplane segments, and also stay up-to-date with recent innovations, administrative regulations, and aircraft repair logs and history. Additionally, many modern-day carriers are running on outdated software that’s plaguing these companies’ progress. Delta Airlines, for example, recently experienced a power outage worldwide that grounded thousands of passengers during the critical summer travel season.

When these backend systems go down, frontend systems and customer service will usually follow. Travelers end up paying the price for business decisions that didn’t serve these companies for the long term. Today’s mission-critical systems have to move to the cloud or be left behind. Agile processes are needed to deliver a better quality of service, and help provide the flexibility and adaptability necessary to handle any type of workload.

Final Notes/Summary

In the highly competitive airline industry, the cloud can be a game-changer for staying ahead of the curve. Instead of being subject to single points of failure, airlines can utilize cloud services for resiliency zones, backup options, and redundancy to keep their critical systems running. They can use the cloud to make sure stored backups are secure, store their data in multiple locations to ensure sufficient backup and DR, and have notifications in place for monitoring and backup status.

Solutions like Cloud Protection Manager (CPM) can help resolve the challenges airlines face. CPM automates backup and recovery via a Windows agent that consistently backs up Windows applications. The agent allows users to manage multiple AWS accounts, and configure policies and schedules to take automated snapshot backups. CPM provides enterprises with flexible backup policies and scheduling, rapid recovery of instances, and a simple, intuitive and user-friendly web interface to easily manage backup operations. With CPM, you can recover volume from a snapshot, increase its size and switch it with an existing attached volume in a single step.

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