Southern California air traffic control swtiched from stable Unix systems to Windows. Mix in an "improperly trained" newbie technician who never reboot the system properly, some Windows design integration issues, and you get a close shave involving 800 planes in the air.
The funny thing was that when I read this report, it was on the same page as a Microsoft Windows Server banner campaign (screen shots provided in case banners change).
The copy of one of the banners read:
"First he was 'the new guy.'"
"Then he was 'Ben in IT.'"
"Now he is Mr. '25% Lower TCO on Dealer Infrastructure Management.'"
"What will they call you?"
"Make a name for yourself with Windows Server System."
So now that "new guy" technician is called "Mr. Almost Caused 800 Planes to Crash."?
Make a name for yourself indeed.
Microsoft server crash nearly causes 800-plane pile-up
Failure to restart system caused data overload.
By Matthew Broersma, Techworld
A major breakdown in Southern California's air traffic control system last week was partly due to a "design anomaly" in the way Microsoft Windows servers were integrated into the system, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The radio system shutdown, which lasted more than three hours, left 800 planes in the air without contact to air traffic control, and led to at least five cases where planes came too close to one another, according to comments by the Federal Aviation Administration reported in the LA Times and The New York Times. Air traffic controllers were reduced to using personal mobile phones to pass on warnings to controllers at other facilities, and watched close calls without being able to alert pilots, according to the LA Times report.
The failure was ultimately down to a combination of human error and a design glitch in the Windows servers brought in over the past three years to replace the radio system's original Unix servers, according to the FAA.