Airport operator reaps rewards of centralized data management with EMC

Airport operator's data is now fully managed and easily searchable

By Anh Nguyen, Computerworld UK |  Storage, data management, EMC

"We operate in a regulated environment, and with the health and safety issue [for example], you have to have some control over the quantity of information."BAA uses about 80% of the five terabytes of storage provided by its Documentum system, and the information is mirrored and stored twice. The system currently holds around two million documents relating to all five of its terminals, roads and runway infrastructure, which is more than 80% of all the airport's building information. It is also needs to take out the information related to the recently knocked down Terminal 2, and is collecting information as it builds the new Terminal 2.The system runs on an Oracle database on Sun Solaris server units, although BAA aims to retire these boxes at end-of-life due to the high maintenance costs, and will move to a Linux HP environment with virtualisation. Users access the system through Citrix, although this is also being phased out as BAA migrates from Windows XP to Windows 7 and runs Internet Explorer 8. It has also moved from Lotus Office to Microsoft Outlook, and from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2010.In the new version of Documentum, BAA hopes to reduce the level of customisations it currently has on the system. However it will continue some customisations, such as the transmission process, which allows it to track when a piece of information has been received."The less customisation there is, the easier it is to make use of services like cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)," Manington said.Now, BAA's users can find documents all in one place, and also know that the information they access is the most up-to-date version available.Furthermore, information is filed according to the terminal it relates to, rather than on a project basis."We spent a lot of money resurveying things because no-one knew if it was the latest information. We will always do some surveying to make sure, but you can now do the original planning of the change [to the airport] without having to do all [the surveying] up front. You can push it down the chain to the confidence level, just to make sure it is what it is," said Manington.

In terms of the value added to the business, he added: "Rather than speed, we want reliability, we want people logging in and knowing they can find things. The value comes out of what people do with the information."


Originally published on Computerworld UK |  Click here to read the original story.
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