Sunday, July 5, 2009

Outage Hit Bing Travel as Integration Slated for Fall Completion

The Geekword blog reportedly has some information from Microsoft on why Bing Travel (the website formerly known as Farecast) was down and unavailable for 36 hours after a fire late Thursday night (Pacific Time) took out the power to Fisher Plaza, which housed Bing Travel's servers.

Although Microsoft acquired Farecast for $115 million in April 2008, the integration is ongoing. Geekword quotes a Microsoft spokesperson as saying that the company is in the process of transitioning Bing Travel to the Microsoft Cloud Computing Platform (presumably in a Microsoft-owned building), and that the process is scheduled to be completed by the fall.

A bunch of other websites were taken down by the transformer failure, but Bing Travel was said to be among the slowest to come back online. The Microsoft spokesperson attributed the delay to the complexity and scale of the Bing Travel system.

Hey, all of that database mining for fare predictions doesn't come easy.

During the outage, a notice on the Bing Travel website suggested that travelers book their trips on Microsoft partner Orbitz.

Apparently Bing Travel didn't have a redundant system in a different facility, And, TechFlash reported that Redfin, after going through a similar drama at Fisher Plaza a year earlier, did. Redfin apparently was up and running Friday morning, some five hours after the power outage.

Shouldn't it just be standard for websites to co-locate redundant systems in separate facilities? Or is that just too costly?

It would seem to be a no-brainer, but perhaps cost-prohibitive.

Given Bing Travel's protracted outage over the weekend, other travel companies should be examining their disaster-recovery plans anew first thing on Monday morning.

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