Southwest’s $10 million lesson: The cost of legacy infrastructure

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Southwest’s $10 million lesson: The cost of legacy infrastructure</span>

Mar 06

Mar 06


shutterstock_359997458.jpgIn the summer of 2016, Southwest Airlines’ website went down for three hours due to a technical glitch. This glitch caused the cancellation of nearly 2,000 flights and delayed hundreds more over three days. This put a massive strain on the airline’s reservation lines and caused problems for customers, resulting in not just the loss of hard-earned customer confidence; it also cost Southwest big money: $5 to $10 million alone in lost bookings. Another carrier—Delta Air Lines—lost a whopping $100 million after a similar outage.

What happened?

The problem occurred when Southwest’s router legacy technology failed, and then the backup systems crashed as well—similar to a power failure, with the backup generator going down. The redundancies Southwest had in place simply didn’t work. Having the ability to expand efficiently is crucial in these scenarios to ensure businesses won’t have to shut down their website or any servers to update them, or add more servers to keep up with the traffic. With scalable infrastructures businesses can handle the traffic after a large boom instead of closing their doors and losing vital revenue.

What did it cost?

Southwest thought they could save money by working with legacy infrastructure. In the end, this was a costly mistake. While the financial impact was definitely significant, the loss of customers could be even more so. This glitch occurred during the peak summer travel season. Because of the system failure, customers experienced extended hold times, longer lines, inconvenience and missed experiences from delayed and cancelled flights. The airline industry is extremely competitive with customers having their choice of carriers, and—as we know—bad news travels fast. These customers may think twice about booking with Southwest in the future which could have been prevented by keeping their data center infrastructure current with new technology.

What can you learn from Southwest's mistake?

Southwest had to learn a difficult lesson, but that doesn’t mean that you have to. Most legacy infrastructure can’t keep up with the power, cooling and structural demands of advancing technologies. As markets continue to grow, and more data pours in, organizations need scalable data centers that are both cost-effective and capable of handling all of the data storage.

Having scalable solutions with components, such as SSDs, lowers power consumption. With this technology, data center owners can gain more control when expanding, specifically when it comes to cooling a data center. No more knocking down walls to add more racks, or installing new ventilation. Now you can effectively and efficiently plan ahead when expanding your data center without going over budget.   

Today’s data center is undergoing spectacular changes, and Ingram Micro can help you take advantage of these changes. Through System ArchiTECHS, Ingram Micro offers access to more than 30 vendors who provide server blades, solid state drives, hard disk drives, motherboards, chassis and other components to provide you with an upgraded, scalable data center customized to your needs and your budget.

Avoid cutting corners

Southwest thought they could cut corners when it came to their infrastructure, and it cost them. Learn from their experience and ensure that your data center can keep up with the demands of advancing technology. Learn more about Ingram Micro’s data center solutions at or call (800) 456-8000 and get started on your own customized solution today.

Topics: Data Center, system architechs

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