London Gatwick Airport Takes Out 200 Servers, Moves to Cloud, BYOD

Cloud computing and a "bring your own device" (BYOD) strategy aren't technology approaches typically associated with running an airport's information-technology operations. But London Gatwick, the U.K.'s second largest airport, is pushing heavily into both.

By Ellen Messmer
Tue, May 07, 2013
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Though it started somewhat informally, the airport eventually set up free Wi-Fi access on the corporate intranet to support BYOD, and used ActiveSync to link employee mobile devices up to corporate email. This BYOD strategy gained serious momentum during last year's Summer Olympics in London when the need to closely communicate, mainly using Yammer, was needed to help large groups of travelers, such as the Olympics team from China teams and others on chartered planes, get through the entry process easily as possible. He adds Gatwick staff even created their own sport out of that busy Olympics time, creating their own teams to see which team was faster.

The move to cloud computing and BYOD mobile has meant that even though Gatwick's data centers might be diminished, its primary bandwidth, especially for Internet access, has not. Where once Gatwick had only two 100Mbps bandwidth from BT, the airport has added a second service provider with new fiber-optics lines as well to maintain two 1Gbps circuit capacity for all that reaching to the cloud.

Can everything an airport might typically do go into the cloud? Ibbitson says probably not. The airport network also supports about 200 other parties, such as airline carriers. And since airports maintain robust video surveillance systems, these would not appear to be candidates for cloud computing.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

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