Delta Airlines’ Global System Outage
Lessons learned from today’s power outage can benefit your organization
At 2:30am on Monday, August 8th, the Delta service hub in Atlanta experienced a computer room power outage. The loss of power interrupted computer systems operation across the globe including flight operations, flight status systems, and the Delta website. It grounded planes, reported incorrect flight statuses and has left passengers stranded all over the world. This morning, Delta is reporting it could take days to return to normal operation and get every customer where they need to be.
A full-scale computer system failure such as this is devastating to any organization. The loss of revenue is immense. The health and safety risk to passengers and employees in flight, stuck on the tarmac, and abandoned in the terminal is terrifying to imagine. But could it have been avoided?
It’s too early to tell exactly what caused the computer room power failure. While it could take days or weeks to pinpoint the root cause, we know one thing for sure – there was a point of vulnerability in Delta’s power protection and its highly likely that those that needed to know about it, didn’t.
Potential points of vulnerability
As a power professional, you can’t help but follow this story and wonder where the points of vulnerability in your organization’s power protection may be. Maybe Delta suffered a UPS failure or generator failure. Perhaps an ATS didn’t trip. It may even be as simple as some dead batteries. Or, it could have been a design flaw where there was planned redundancy for critical loads that didn’t actually exist.
Imaging the consequences of various scenarios can be difficult when everything is operating properly. It could be as simple as a dual input server or servers connected to the same UPS and that UPS happened to go down. Dual inputs are designed to provide redundancy, but they can’t be redundant if they are connected to the same input power source. Or maybe a network switch failed and virtual servers were unable to migrate to a back-up or DR location. Loss of a network connection can have a far-reaching impact when the utility fails.
This is where a power system assessment service can be invaluable for your business. Power systems are often designed during a building’s original construction or during a major remodel. However, as power needs change, sometimes the impact on the entire power path isn’t considered. New servers, systems, or increased network traffic can put unseen strain on aging infrastructure. Has your switchgear, UPS, data center cooling, and other critical equipment been properly maintained over the years? Is it time to modernize your power systems?
Power Solutions offers a variety of assessment services that can review your power path from pole to plug, identify the points of vulnerability, and make recommendations for corrective action. Contact your Power Solutions Power Specialist to learn more about our assessment services.
For more information about our power system assessment services, call 800-876-9373 or send an email to [email protected].