British Airways increases scalability, reliability, flexibility and performance while building on its IT infrastructure using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
As the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom (U.K.), British Airways has operated for more than 90 years, and today is the largest airline in the U.K. based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations, flying more than 40 million passengers to 177 destinations around the globe each year. In line with the company’s growth and additional business requirements for its production environment – and, in particular, to support the production environment for its external website, BA.com – British Airways needed to expand its IT infrastructure. As consumers have shifted their airline ticket buying patterns, British Airways supports on average in excess of 450,000 visitors to BA.com per day.
Looking for a solution that would support their projected future growth and anticipated additional e-commerce traffic, British Airways identified Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as the best solution for its Linux workloads – in terms of functionality, value, and avoidance of vendor lock-in – for the production environment that supports its website and other workloads such as internal applications, both pre-production and production.
British Airways found that, as an enterprise-ready open source virtualization solution, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization offered a more cost-effective option than proprietary virtualization offerings, and it worked well with other elements of their open source IT infrastructure, including systems based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Satellite. With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, British Airways has deployed 750 virtual machines on 130 physical hosts across two datacenters, replacing a previously virtualized estate.
British Airways’ new IT infrastructure has reaped several important benefits in areas such as administration and ongoing efficiency for developers at the company. Richard Dawson, a UNIX and Linux infrastructure consultant at British Airways, explained:
“We use Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to create our own cloud so that our developers can use it to build their own virtual machines and hence build and control environments as they wish. We have used Red Hat solutions in various parts of our business for ten years, and we are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship by deploying Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. As developers need to create and delete environments quickly, a highly scalable solution is critical for us and this advantage then means that we don’t need to over-commit on our IT plans.
“As an operation that functions 365 days a year with a plane always in the sky, high availability is key for the safety of our operation and ultimately our customers. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization now enables us to have a single-pane view as to what is going on in the whole environment which we didn’t have before.
“We have been using Red Hat in various parts of our business for ten years and so the relationship with Red Hat is already cemented hence we wanted to continue that. We used Red Hat Consulting for the migration, as it was a more efficient model to use trained experts than to employ and then train people of our own. The service was of a high level and delivered within time frame.”
In particular, British Airways recognized the benefit of a dedicated Red Hat Technical Account Manager to build an in-depth technical knowledge of British Airways' technical environment, and as a result, prevent issues using proactive planning, technical reviews and on-site visits.
“Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization offers a no-compromise virtualization solution for Linux workloads - industry-leading performance coupled with a compelling ROI,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, Virtualization and OpenStack, Red Hat. “We’re delighted about the successful deployment and value British Airways is deriving from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as well as the opportunity to offer our services across Consulting, Technical Account Management and Support for faster time to solution.”