A generator failure Sunday at an IBM data center in Auckland, New Zealand crippled key services for Air New Zealand, prompting the airline’s CEO to publicly chastise Big Blue for the failure. The data center outage crashed airport check-in systems, as well as on-line bookings and call center systems Sunday morning, affecting more than 10,000 passengers and throwing airports into disarray.
The problem occurred during planned maintenance at IBM’s Newton data center in Auckland. A generator failed during the maintenance window, dropping power to parts of the data center, including the mainframe operations supporting Air New Zealand’s ticketing. IBM says service was restored to most clients within an hour, but local media reports say Air New Zealand’s ticketing kiosks were offline for up to six hours.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe is not happy.
“In my 30-year working career, I am struggling to recall a time where I have seen a supplier so slow to react to a catastrophic system failure such as this and so unwilling to accept responsibility and apologise to its client and its client’s customers,” Fyfe wrote in an email to IBM, which then became public.
“We were left high and dry and this is simply unacceptable,” Fyfe added. “My expectations of IBM were far higher than the amateur results that were delivered yesterday, and I have been left with no option but to ask the IT team to review the full range of options available to us to ensure we have an IT supplier whom we have confidence in and one who understands and is fully committed to our business and the needs of our customers.”