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Flybe expands virtualisation drive to data backup

Airline moving to full VMware virtualisation

European airline Flybe has expanded its virtualised IT infrastructure with new data back-up and replication systems.

The airline has implemented Veeam Software's Backup & Replication v5 to support its main public facing transactional website and other operations. Veeam's software is also being used to protect Flybe virtual machines housing internal applications such as email and digital maintenance manuals for the airline's aircraft.

James Richards, virtualisation and server specialist at Flybe, said: "Any disruption to our website represents a potential loss of revenue, and at the same time we cannot afford disruption to our internal infrastructure.

"The move to virtualisation was already improving the efficiency of our underlying infrastructure, and with Veeam we now have greater confidence in the reliability of our virtual estate."

Flybe had already virtualised the servers responsible for hosting and running its ecommerce site first, and these were followed by some of its internal application servers. The company has the intention of making its infrastructure "almost entirely virtual".

Flybe initially used a native, agent-based backup and recovery system with its virtual infrastructure. However, due in part to the need to install a software agent on every new machine that was created, this proved "to be limited in scope", said Flybe.

Installing an agent on every machine, as well as using up valuable computing power, became increasingly impractical and complicated as the virtual infrastructure grew, said the airline.

Richards said: "Previously we didn't have the confidence that our virtual servers would survive any incidents. Now we can be sure that any disruption is limited to minutes rather than hours or even days."

In other aviation IT news, Lufthansa Systems, an IT services company that is part of the German airline group, recently opened a major data centre in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, to serve the travel industry. The data centre will host applications for clients including Thomas Cook and airline BMI, and will act as a mutual backup site with Lufthansa's facility in Frankfurt.

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