Building Maintenance Behind BA IT Fail

Electrics and slipshod building maintenance source of British Airways’ IT fail

Heathrow building maintenance image by EQRoy (via Shutterstock).
A computerised visual display at the BA Terminal, at London Heathrow Airport. Image by EQRoy (via Shutterstock).

Building maintenance hiccups can happen to the best of companies. As we have found out over the last week, even The World’s Favourite Airline isn’t immune to such problems. British Airways’ UK data centre experienced a meltdown which led to numerous cancellations at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. This led to some disruption for many travellers from London’s principal airports.

Instead of issues with the telecommunications networks, it was claimed that a power surge led to BA’s IT problems. The airline’s data centre was built in the 1980s and overheating, rather than server failures, were the cause. Its cooling system hadn’t been maintained properly. As passengers and BA themselves have made greater use of internet based booking systems, the building maintenance of its cooling systems were stuck in the ‘80s. Back when Viewdata and travel agents were king; back when Duty Free also meant a sitcom starring Keith Barron.

According to a statement from Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA’s holding company, IAG: “There was a loss of power to the UK data centre which was compounded by the uncontrolled return of power which caused a power surge taking out our IT systems. So we know what happened we just need to find out why.”

UK Power Networks, the company which maintain the electricity supply for Greater London and South East England, stated there was no power problems in the vicinity of Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

This week’s lesson in building maintenance: never underestimate the amount of heat that electrical goods can give off. Especially where computer equipment and servers are concerned. Proper ventilation will be your friend.

ST Maintenance Solutions, 01 June 2017.

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