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IT Resilience In Light Of Recent Airspace Shutdown

IT Resilience In Light Of Recent Airspace Shutdown

December 17, 2014 0 Comments

Can high-performing drivers boost IT resiliency and prevent massive failures like the UK’s NATS shutdown?

Late last week London airspace was shut down due to an IT failure at the National Air Traffic Services (NATS.) While the cause of the problem is being blamed on a “single line of computer code”, the decades-old NATS computer system and architecture has to take part of the blame.

Could this have been prevented with more modern architecture? Definitely. ‘IT resilience’ is an important concept dealing with how IT systems can be designed so that they don’t fail, or if they do fail, the damage is minimized. Nowhere is this more critical than in flight safety.

So what makes for good IT resilience and what measures can companies take to avoid IT failures?

IT resiliency starts with high performance database drivers

The problem with mainframes like the IBM S/390, built in the early 90’s, is that typically data is stored in one location only. Modern systems allow companies to store mission critical data in redundant databases in different locations so that if one fails, data is available from one of the backup systems. Massively redundant systems, such as Hadoop, provide multiple copies of data spread across dozens or hundreds of devices. Cloud architectures replicate the data and store it anywhere in the world.

This is where the right database driver (what connects an application to network data) can make a huge impact. In the best-case scenario, a driver with a lot of functionality takes care of applications in such a way that they are not even aware of the network. The database driver makes the application resilient because if information coming from the primary database fails, it can easily switch to an alternate database. The application is none the wiser.

Avoid database failure and balance workload

Two features of Progress® DataDirect® drivers that enable IT resiliency are:

  • Failover support – the database driver understands if the main database fails and automatically starts to get data from a backup database, sometimes in mid-stream.
  • Load balancing – the database driver automatically gets data from several replicated databases in a random fashion. If one of the databases fails, the remaining databases continue to provide the required data.

NATS is scheduled for a major upgrade – £575m will be spent over the next five years on systems, according to the company. You can bet that IT resilience, including database failover and load balancing will be part of the equation.

Learn more about Progress DataDirect Connect features that can enhance your business results, and contact us for more information or support.

John Marsland

John Marsland is Marketing Manager in the Data Connectivity and Integration business unit at Progress Software, covering the DataDirect and DataDirect Cloud products.

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