Cathay Pacific improves incident management with Elasticsearch

Cathay Pacific improves incident management with ElasticsearchCathay Pacific Airways has deployed Elastic’s products to get a holistic and analytic view of its IT environment, helping the airline company to be more proactive in incident management of its IT operations. 

In the past, the airline's IT team faced legacy problems in its IT operations. These include being reactive rather than proactive to application or website problems, being slow to troubleshoot and being reliant on suppliers for IT environment visibility, which all brought much frustration to both the airline and customers.

“Our website gets over one million hits per day. If we are not selling any ticket for hours because we do not realize that our payment gateway is down, it is embarrassing and extremely painful for our business,” said Anthony Chung, service quality management lead at Cathay Pacific Airways.

Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon together carried nearly 2.96 million passengers last December, as stated in the airline's news release.

The airline has outsourced its IT infrastructure and IT applications to different vendors. Chung said that his IT team had very limited visibility on the actual IT environment. When an issue cropped up, sometimes it took two hours or so for the support team to arrive.

“Every now and then when customers log in to our website or try to check in, it doesn’t work. By the time we recognize the incident and get to the support team, the incident is already over,” he said.

Added to the above problems is the use of many applications for carrying out a service and the deployment of too many monitoring tools, resulting in information overload and complex management.

As for flight booking, he explained that it takes about six steps from flight search to payment. The whole process involves 10 different applications, each with different monitoring tools.

To fix the legacy IT problems, Cathay Pacific needed an offering that is more centralized, scalable, secured and can alert the IT team at the right level, according to Chung.

Full visibility of IT environment

After carrying out a proof of concept (POC) on Elastic—an open-source search and analytics software vendor—in a small scale, Cathay Pacific started using the vendor’s Elasticsearch and X-Pack for incident management last June.

The airline took three days to implement Elastic’s products including configuration, documentation and building docker images. The carrier then spent a week or so to ingest data sets, analyze and customize data patterns, and configure alerts after understanding data patterns.

Elasticsearch provides data search and real-time insights analytics, making massive amounts of structured and unstructured data usable for enterprises and developers. X-Pack offers a set of extended features including security, monitoring, alerting, reporting and graph exploration in one pack.