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Enterprise IT Ops Lessons Learned: Sabre System Outage Leaves Airline Consumers Stranded


Enterprise IT Ops Lessons Learned: Sabre System Outage Leaves Airline Consumers Stranded


The Sabre computer reservation system suffered an outage on Monday night affecting travellers around the world. 'Sabre' not ring a bell? Sabre is a reservation system used for scheduling and/or passenger check-in by at least 300 airlines and 100 airports. The outage affected many leading airlines including Alaska Airlines, American, Frontier, JetBlue, LAN, Virgin America and Virgin Australia. It lasted for about four hours starting Monday night and going well into the wee hours of the morning, forcing airline employees to manually check-in customers. The company wrote on their Twitter stream during the outage, "Sabre is experiencing a system issue. Our technology team is working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation." 

NBCNews  commented that "Long lines quickly grew at U.S. airports, including San Francisco where passengers posted pictures to Twitter."

IT News elaborated on the consequences of the event, sharing one customer experience "Handwriting the boarding pass was a long drawn-out process. It took about 20 minutes for me to get back through check-in and I was pretty much at the front of the line."

With IT systems becoming more complex, do companies give the proper priority to being prepared for performance issues?

So What Caused the Outage?

Sabre hasn't elaborated on the cause. The outage was described in various media reports as a "glitch" or "connectivity issue." 

The fact that the outage began late at night (after 9pm) would lead one to conclude that some updates were being implemented at the time. 

Often in the IT operations process the Change and configuration management plays a key role in addressing performance. Every time a change occurs in the infrastructure—whether for the deployment of new hardware or applications, a patch , or some other change—IT control is impacted, questioning the effectiveness of IT control and the change management processes. When an IT organization can manage change on a continuous basis, it demonstrates that its infrastructures are reliable, compliant and effective.

IT Operations Analytics

Today IT Operations face new levels of challenges where existing technologies lack the capabilities to handle the complexity and dynamics of modern IT environments. This demands applying intelligent analytics to help deal with this state. IT Operations Analytics delivers the intelligence IT operations organization crave, allowing them to turn piles of IT operations' data into actionable information. 

In our recent webinar, our guest analyst, Glenn O'Donnel, principal analyst at Forrester, explained that "This complexity really complicates the whole change management process. It makes it hard to make changes because how do we know that we're going to make a change and it's not going to cause some ripple effect elsewhere."

Your Turn
How are YOU managing changes in your infrastructure?

About the Author
Martin Perlin