Feeds

The Navitaire cock-up, filleted

Datacentre details behind Virgin Blue outages

High performance access to file storage

The Register has found out more about the Navitaire data centre responsible for the 21-hour Virgin Blue outage on Sunday and the second outage on Tuesday. It makes the prolonged first outage even more puzzling.

Accenture's Eric Ulmer says (Google Docs) that the Navitaire system has a high transaction volume, and the total value of web-based travel transactions exceeds Amazon.com transactions. The daily credit authorisations reach $135m and some 750,000 batch jobs are run each month.

There are high service level agreement penalties for outages, and application response time waits. There are no scheduled maintenance windows and Navitaire in effect pays to take airline customers down. The first 21-hour outage caused more than 100 Virgin Blue flights to be cancelled with more than 100,000 passengers affected.

The net effect of the two outages could be that Navitaire pays millions of Australian dollars in compensation to Virgin Blue and, perhaps, loses the airline reservation system contract.

We are told by an anonymous source that Navitaire's Sydney-based data centre has more than 32 units of Texas Memory Systems' RamSan 500 front ended by NetApp V-Series V6040 6080 controllers. Ulmer says the RamSans deliver 8TB of usable storage.

We understand Navitaire takes snapshots of the core OLTP database and SnapVaults it to nearline storage. This then gets dumped to local DataDomain systems, which Ulmer says are used as virtual tape libraries. Navitaire also SnapMirrors the primary array OLTP data to another data centre.

We already know the RamSans have a lot of internal data protection features and that Navitaire staff attempted to repair the failed "solid state disk infrastructure" as Virgin Blue described it in a statement.

The fact of these SnapVault and SnapMirror arrangements being in place raises the question why did it take 21 hours to restore the system? Couldn't Navitaire just recover the snapshot data to repaired hardware?

Alternatively, why didn't it run the system off the remote data centre holding the SnapMirror data? The implication is that, because it didn't do this, the Snapmirror process of sending OLTP data to the second data centre was useless.

Another point: It's understood the Sydney data centre services several airlines so why was only Virgin Blue affected?

It is becoming more and more obvious that Navitaire's business continuance and disaster recovery provisions failed completely in this outage. There should have been standby systems ready to take on the load of any failed system or system component, but there weren't any. That is a blunder of the first magnitude by whoever designed, implemented and ran the system. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.