Security lines, weather delays, maintenance, turbulence are all travel experiences that conjure up frustrated, anxious feelings. As the CIO of an airline, those headaches can multiply quickly when your customers are relying on your department by the millisecond – 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is literally no relief. Couple those emotions with one of the most complex, highly regulated industries in the world and you’re bound to identify some of the most dynamic and robust technology challenges of our times.
Air travel is changing. As the on-demand economy grows with technology, travelers are becoming savvier than ever before. The expectation for a hassle-free, end-to-end travel experience, from the beginning of the trip planning process to the time a passenger collects their bags – and every step in between - reflects the shifting cultural change and personal reliance upon IT as an essential service. While innovation paved the way for Spirit to bring the ultra-low cost model to U.S., it has also created rapid growth and incredible demand on an IT ecosystem responsible for maintaining the entire customer experience.
Spirit’s primary goal is to offer the lowest price for air travel. Safety is always first though and we have the fittest fleet in the U.S. It is our mission and a responsibility every team member takes very seriously. On average, we save customers about 30 percent on total price compared to other airlines according to DOT statistics; a standard which requires agility and flexibility in every department. We strive to cut costs and operate efficiently, while offering a high level of service. For the IT team, this requires a willingness to expand skillsets and a desire to identify creative solutions to complex situations.
Tactics Migrate to cloud infrastructure
By leveraging hyper-converged and heavily virtualized infrastructure with public and private cloud capabilities along with content distribution networks, Spirit is able to stay agile and identify unique business opportunities. This structure gives our innovators the opportunity to try new things, such as changing direction or accelerating processes, as the needs of the organization shifts. This flexibility allows us to take advantage of best of breed services and expertise across a broad market, rather than relying exclusively on in-house resources. It also allows for services to be delivered at scale, a major cost benefit and important strategic move.
Spirit’s infrastructure incorporates the technologies of Nutanix, VMWare and Citrix to provide maximum output and efficiencies while minimizing the datacenter footprint and power needs. We have the ability to spin up additional resources on demand and break them down once no longer needed. Our network layer further builds on this strategy with the adoption of Cisco’s Nexus line of networking gear, Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV) and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).