How Cloud Computing Makes a Great Forecast for Flying | TechWell

How Cloud Computing Makes a Great Forecast for Flying

While airplanes do their best to steer clear of flying directly into clouds to avoid turbulence, icing, or the terrifying effects of volcanic ash to an engine, the airports that manage those planes are embracing clouds with open arms—er, wings.

London’s Gatwick Airport, one of Europe’s busiest, recently became the largest airport to ditch their servers for the convenience and reliability of the cloud. Gatwick’s CIO Michael Ibbitson recently told NetworkWorld that not only has the airport removed two hundred servers, but by 2016, Gatwick will go from three data centers down to needing only one.

Ibbitson goes on to point out that the main selling point for shifting Gatwick’s operation to the cloud was the resulting cost reduction. Those looking to move their own information over to the cloud, especially government groups, often must be able to ensure that certain data is kept within required geographical boundaries in order to stay compliant with privacy laws. Gatwick was able to do this by “drilling down into the cloud provider’s IT infrastructure,” according to Ibbitson.

Airports in Madeira, Portugal, made their own transition to the cloud late last year, as officials pointed out that the cloud created not just money-saving advantages for the airport but also direct benefits for passengers as well. Thales Portugal cites “increased efficiencies that will improve the passenger experience” as well as “significantly reducing the airport’s carbon footprint by optimizing energy consumption.”

Many groups are predicting that other airports could soon follow Europe’s lead, as the cloud almost seems custom-tailored to the needs of airports, especially when looking at data chokepoints. Forbes quotes cloud-economy expert Joe Weinman:

Just as air traffic controllers can regulate arriving and departing flights to keep airports running smoothly, “the cloud can accomplish the same thing—throttling, policing, shaping, limiting, and managing data traffic.”

Based on recently released airport satisfaction results, some of the United States’ busiest airports—Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Chicago's O’Hare, and Los Angeles International (all of which are missing from the top of the charts)—might want to look toward the cloud as a cost-effective measure for improving both their rankings and their revenues.

Has Europe shown that the only direction is up? Do you think all airports will slowly embrace the cloud as the way of the future? Let us know in the comments section below!

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