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Gogo migrates to AWS, eyes real-time data processing


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In-flight WiFi provider Gogo is shedding its data centers and migrating its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services. Gogo said the total cloud migration will allow the company to scale all aspects of its business, from the number of airlines it can support to how fast it can process stream data. 

The majority of Gogo’s infrastructure migration is already completed, the company said, with all business-critical databases, including payments, orders, user management, and backend services, shifting from Oracle databases to Amazon Aurora. Gogo said its last data center was shut down two weeks ago and that it’s already using a bevy of AWS services, including analytics, serverless, database, and storage.

“Our AWS story is tightly aligned with our business trajectory,” said Ravi Balwada, SVP of software development at Gogo. “We have been consuming AWS products for commercial offerings for three years. Over the last 12 months we accelerated our migration to AWS. The reason and the timing are in lock step with how business is growing.” 

In addition to providing in-flight entertainment and WiFi service to passengers, Gogo also gathers information about passengers using its services, applies analytics to the data, and churns out insights that help airlines improve experiences. But as in-flight connectivity improves — largely through Gogo’s 2Ku technology, which hit peak antenna speeds of 70 Mbps — Gogo said airlines are increasingly eager to leverage that connectivity to manage ancillary systems on planes and bolster safety and maintenance operations.  

“We provide link in the chain that allows for a richer volume to be transmitted and AWS allows us to have a secure landing spot for that data, to do edge processing, and to have systems that can handle the volatility of our needs and take advantage of serverless technology,” said Balwada. 

On the security side, Balwada said Gogo is also using the migration as a way to improve security and understand consumer behaviors.  

“We are rigorous about making sure only authorized, recognized devices can connect to the internet,” he said. “To do that we have built controls and have required us to enhance our security analytics platform, not only for ground systems but those on the aircraft.”

Looking ahead, Gogo is hoping to leverage the AWS migration to process data streams in near real time — a feat the company expects will open new business and growth opportunities as connectivity continues to improve.

“We are heavily focused on the data and being able to process the streams of information coming from an aircraft and having those available for the first time for businesses on the ground,” said Balwada. 

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