EasyJet flies into the clouds with Azure

By Dave Bailey
15 Jul 2009 View Comments
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easyjet plane
EasyJet wants to open up its data

Budget airline EasyJet has become one of the early adopters of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform.

EasyJet enterprise architect Bert Craven said EasyJet runs a 100 per cent Microsoft technology stack and has no internal R&D budget – but the web is central to its business.

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“Some 98.5 per cent of our passengers book via EasyJet.com, which serves between 85 and 220 pages per second,” he said. “Primarily, and in the short term, what we’re looking at is using the Azure services bus [part of Azure .Net services].”
Azure offers a solution to a question EasyJet had already been asking, said Craven. “How do we make our on-premises services available publicly but securely, and in a rich and flexible way?” he said.

Craven said that over time EasyJet would be looking at using a much broader range of services on Azure.

“I can definitely see us making use of the Windows Azure compute component, for serving up things such as data feeds,” he said.

EasyJet would also like to feed-enable EasyJet.com, so that external developers writing mashups, iPhone applications and other web-based software could access EasyJet’s flight availability data.

“We don’t want the current situation where ‘data scrapers’ serve up that data because it affects users on EasyJet.com,” said Craven.

In later iterations of EasyJet’s new departure control system (DCS) Halo, Craven said that the airline might consider moving more of its back-end data into an SQL Azure cloud database.

“At the moment, we’re still keeping a very centralised DCS and just exposing that publicly. Once we’re happy that the overall process in the airport works, we’ll look at that,” said Craven.

“If you look at our network of airports – they are all over Europe with the information stored in UK databases. It would make much more sense for that data to reside in the cloud, and be modified in the cloud.”

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