Air Transport World

Mainframe afterburners; solid-state disks boost computer speeds to help satisfy airlines' increasing needs.

The demands placed by airlines on mainframe computer speed and capacity are staggering. Lufthansa's newly modernized reservations system, for example, processes 8.8 million on-line transactions from 35,000 terminals around the world in a typical 24-hour period, responding to each inquiry within three seconds. In the past, airlines usually turned to larger, faster mainframes to maintain rapid response times as reservations volume soared and fare changes proliferated. Today, many are finding that it is more cost-effective to upgrade the external memory subsystems that support their mainframes.

To overcome the inherent electromechanical speed limitations of magnetic disk storage, several airlines recently have augmented their magnetic "disk farms" with the relatively new technology known as solid state disk (SSD). …

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