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Customer Story | SD-WAN

EasyJet Competes Through Business Transformation With ThousandEyes

Company Background

EasyJet is one of the largest low-cost, European point-to-point airlines on the planet. The company operates 336 aircraft across 34 countries and 156 different airports.

Industry: Aviation

Headquarters: Luton, United Kingdom

Use Case: Enterprise Digital Experience; SD-WAN; Application Experience

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Company Background

EasyJet is one of the largest low-cost, European point-to-point airlines on the planet. The company operates 336 aircraft across 34 countries and 156 different airports.

Industry: Aviation

Headquarters: Luton, United Kingdom

Use Case: Enterprise Digital Experience; SD-WAN; Application Experience

Company Background

EasyJet is one of the largest low-cost, European point-to-point airlines on the planet. The company operates 336 aircraft across 34 countries and 156 different airports.

Industry: Aviation

Headquarters: Luton, United Kingdom

Use Case: Enterprise Digital Experience; SD-WAN; Application Experience

In the airline industry, reliability is everything. That’s why the IT Operations teams at easyJet abide by a proactive approach in monitoring its complex hybrid networks, taking extra steps to keep flights running smoothly before any issues arise.

Customers, Bases, and Airplanes

EasyJet is an extremely busy eCommerce and retail business that can sell a planeload of passenger tickets every minute during peak times. But, more importantly, they want to give their passengers “the warmest welcome in the sky” by providing wonderful travel experiences at a decent cost.

“On top of selling the seats, we need to operate the flight,” said Simon Challis, senior technology manager for platform design at easyJet. “The resilience of the airline and our network is critical to ensure we are flying all our customers on time where they need to be.”

An interesting aspect that distinguishes easyJet from other airlines is its operations as a point-to-point carrier. This transportation model means its aircraft fly from one base to another rather than always going through a central hub.

As the company’s routes have expanded and its ability to handle thousands of flights per day has grown, so has its network of bases. EasyJet relies on bases to store aircraft, and crew members report to or sleep at them overnight. These bases can be seasonal, and the airline must be able to spin them up quickly based on demand. In the past, easyJet connected its bases to the network using traditional MPLS links, which can take up to 90 days to provision.

Keep Everything Running Smoothly

In today’s world, airlines have a lot on their plates when it comes to making sure their flights run smoothly. Whenever a customer books a flight, there is a concurrent behind-the-scenes process where the airline schedules crew and aircraft. On top of that, airlines have a responsibility to submit reports of who is traveling where to agencies and authorities.

Some airlines are having a tough time keeping up with so many intricacies. Moreover, outdated systems and network outages can add to the difficulties by leading to canceled flights and unhappy passengers. EasyJet is working to make sure that’s not the case for their passengers.

“With how our network works, any small disruption to our operation can have a knock-on effect,” said Challis. “It’s vital that we assure our services from the very get-go.”

That’s why easyJet is quickly modernizing its systems, adopting the following three-point mantra:

  • The office is everywhere.
  • The Internet is our network.
  • Data centers are in the cloud.

As the airline moves to the cloud, easyJet’s IT team is not looking to own physical assets or networks but instead wants to provision as much of its infrastructure as possible. As a result, the company has leveraged the public Internet and Direct Internet Access (DIA). It is also moving away from its reliance on data centers towards the cloud.

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Checking the Quality of Connections

EasyJet is embracing its WAN modernization as it transforms its network infrastructure from MPLS to SD-WAN (Software-defined Wide Area Network) and moves many of its applications and services into the cloud.

EasyJet wanted visibility into how provider networks were routing their applications, how they performed, and the quality of those connections. “We want to make sure that the services we provide meet the SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that we’re given,” said Challis.

They also wanted to measure the latency of connections between anything that remains within the data center and anything that moves through AWS. Because their apps manage such core business functions, easyJet recognized there were challenges in indiscriminately relying on DIA or the cloud provider’s fabric when migrating applications into the cloud.

“With how our network works, any small disruption to our operation can have a knock-on effect,” said Challis. “It’s vital that we assure our services from the very get-go.”
Simon Challis
Senior Technology Manager for Platform Design
easyJet

From Application Performance to Digital Experience

EasyJet’s applications sit at the core of its business. Customers use the company’s apps to book flights or check in before one. Airport operations use them to check bags and order planes. And crew members use them to manage tickets and process payments.

During easyJet’s transformation, the airline has relied on Cisco AppDynamics for application performance management (APM) to ensure that its customers can make and manage bookings through all its commercial entities—including easyjet.com.

EasyJet wanted a better understanding of how its customers and employees were experiencing its apps from their perspective. They turned to ThousandEyes to strengthen their cloud and Internet visibility and improve the monitoring of digital experience from the customer and employee standpoint.

Since its implementation, ThousandEyes Enterprise Agents and Cloud Agents have given easyJet a holistic view of how their applications perform for customers and employees.

“There are plenty of products on the market that give the outside view of your application,” said Challis. “Where we found ThousandEyes particularly interesting is that inside-out view.”

“There are plenty of products on the market that give the outside view of your application. Where we found ThousandEyes particularly interesting is that inside-out view.”
Simon Challis
Senior Technology Manager for Platform Design
easyJet

Improved Operational Efficiency, Reduced Response Times

ThousandEyes has helped the company understand what is happening across its estate, which has been valuable for preventative maintenance and cost optimization. The company has deployed ThousandEyes Enterprise Agents into its Cisco devices and virtual machines. And with its upgraded SD-WAN and cloud architecture, easyJet now has more flexibility and spends less time setting up network connectivity at bases.

When easyJet realizes that the fault resides outside its network with a provider, it can conserve engineering resources otherwise spent on troubleshooting. “We’ve been able to reduce our mean time to respond to a number of incidents by going to ThousandEyes in the first instance to actually find out where those faults lie,” said Challis. “[Our engineers] can then continue improving our services or delivering new services for our customers.”

Faster access also means better monitoring of these core systems—enabling the company to fortify its competitive advantage and flexibility, making it a point-to-point airline better prepared for growth.

With so many moving parts in air travel, it is vital to have solid visibility into your network. With ThousandEyes, easyJet can ensure it stays on top of the world and in the clouds.

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