Sunday, 4 August 2013

FlyLogical goes cloud mad, embraces Total Internet

The thousands of iNavCalc users will know that FlyLogical makes extensive use of internet-based resources when compiling PLOGs, MET reports, NOTAMs, etc. Specifically, the following core internet-based services are employed:

  • Email
  • Web
  • GoogleMaps
  • MET via web-service
  • NOTAMs via web-service
  • Twitter

All of the above services rely wholly on the internet, and to a significant extent, on "the cloud", but until recently, the actual FlyLogical servers pulling everything together were physical machines operated by FlyLogical from a datacentre ("computer room") quite literally "down the road".

As of midnight last Saturday (27 July 2013), all that has changed: the entire FlyLogical server infrastructure was moved to "the cloud". This means that FlyLogical has no ownership, low-level control, or even knowledge of the location of the actual machines which now host the apps. Instead, FlyLogical rents virtual server "space", on-demand, from a "cloud provider".

The reason for moving to the cloud was primarily to improve resilience. The cloud provider can ensure that the servers  are "up" with significantly greater reliability than the previous approach. For example, during the Leuchars Airshow last year, it just so happened that the FlyLogical physical servers went offline due to a lightning strike on the building housing the datacentre. Such rare events can -- and did-- happen. This was inconvenient for users, not least for me, since I was relying on iNavCalc for planning my trip back from Leuchars!

Apart from resilience, the cloud also offers improved performance in terms of screen-response (on the web browser for the web-apps) and email turnaround time (for PLOGS etc generated via the iNavCalc mobile-, email-, and web apps).

I'm hoping that nobody even noticed the switchover last weekend when the FlyLogical apps were "down" for a mere few seconds during the transition.

With this migration of the entire computing infrastructure to the cloud, I've embraced (what I like to think of as) the Total Internet.