Managed Services & System Integration at Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines is the leading airline group flying to and from Belgium. The airline group was formed in 2006 from the marriage between SN Brussels Airlines, the largest full service Belgian airline and Virgin Express, the first European low cost airline.

The challenge

We selected the technologies and appropriately dimensioned the server and storage infrastructure so as to improve the current performance. This ensured that traffic and applications could grow with the needs of Brussels Airlines at marginal cost. Furthermore, we put in place a strong Project Management plan in order to migrate the required applications onto the new platform, while minimizing risks and providing business continuity. Finally we put the team and the tools in place to operate the new IT infrastructure in full service mode on a 24 by 24 basis. In addition, we monitor 50 + applications, most of them being highly critical to this business.

The solution

We upgraded the primary site at Brussels Airlines datacenter location, while the Secondary was established in the ASP datacenter. Both sites are fully equipped with:

  • redundant power distribution;
  • fire detection;
  • multiple connectivity towards Internet;
  • access control;
  • 24-7 manned site.

These are all requirements in order to ensure the high availability expected from some critical applications.

It was decided to go for the virtualization of the current 40 physical servers into six servers on the main site using VMware for the MS Windows environment and Solaris zones for the unix environment.

The advantage of doing this included:

  • fewer servers;
  • less electrical consumption;
  • operational simplification for both the customer and ASP as the service provider and operator;
  • increased flexibility and reliability
  • higher availability.

Sun Microsystems servers and storage were used at the core of the IT infrastructure. The primary site consists of three SUN X4450 servers with four six -core Intel processors with VMware ESX 3.5 and two V445 Ultra Sparc based Sun servers.

Those servers are connected through 2 redundant Cisco FC-AL switches 9222i to a Sun StorageTek 6140 disk array made of multiple of 300 GB disks. Besides, an IP gateway allows the replication between this primary and the secondary site through a secured Fiber Optic HS 1 Gbps connection. The secondary site is equipped with a similar technology as the primary and with a tape library.

The result

The objectives of Brussels Airlines were successfully achieved. So the 50 mission-critical applications were consolidated on the new infrastructure and do provide high availability, security and disaster recovery. As a result, the project has also delivered significant economic savings: a 40% reduction in Total Cost of Ownership according to Eric Wilmot. He had the position as the Chief Information Officer of Brussels Airlines. He gave praise for ASP’s contribution to this success: