Here’s an idea: Let’s put aircraft black boxes in the cloud

A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777

As searchers from more than two dozen countries continue to look for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, some transportation experts are calling for a revamp of the traditional black box flight recorder, recommending that at least some key flight data be transmitted from aircraft to the cloud.

Clearly there are expenses and technology hurdles to be overcome. Streaming all that data from plane to some sort of database would be expensive, but periodically sending key snippets might not be cost prohibitive, experts told Reuters last week.

Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and a retired U.S. Air Force General, said the latest aviation mishap, along with the loss five years ago of Air France flight 447 in the Atlantic, should spur reform of an antiquated investigation process.

The availability of even limited data from the black box and cockpit voice recordings could speed up accident inquiries and locate a plane in trouble if it’s beyond the reach of ground-based radar, he noted.

Oliver McGee, another former NTSB official, concurred, telling Reuters that it’s time “to move the black box to the cloud at least for essential limited flight recorder data for long flights over [over remote areas].” More here from McGee.

The Structure Show:

Mark Lucovsky, the star engineer who’s moved from Digital Equipment to Microsoft to Google to VMware to Mombo Labs, talks about why he’s building atop someone else’s cloud, and not building clouds himself anymore.

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Gearing up for a big week in cloud

Stay tuned for a ton o’ cloud news this coming week, with dueling San Francisco events — Google Platform Live on Tuesday, AWS Summit on Wednesday, and a Satya Nadella-headlined Microsoft confab about the intersection of mobility and cloud on Thursday. Oh, and a Pivotal  platform-as-a-service chalk talk for good measure.

Whether there’s a ton of news is almost beside the point. These vendors are in full-fledged land grab (cloud grab?) mode now.

More cloud news

Red Hat taps once-skeptical Gartner analyst to lead OpenStack push

Amazon Web Services: What’s it worth?

Cloud Computing is still in its early days: Amitabh Srivastava, EMC

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user Auckland Photo News Rodger McCutcheon

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