New technologies are becoming increasingly powerful and offer new opportunities for evolution and innovation in the ATM field. The Cloud is one of them, bringing new perspectives and a growing interest for aviation. So let’s talk about the Cloud, its possible uses for ATM and finally its integration in Coflight Cloud Services.

What is the cloud?

The Cloud is a collection of remote digital resources. It allows data to be stored on remote computers called servers, accessible via internal or external networks as required. The means offered are also grouped under the name of Cloud Computing. In general, Cloud Computing refers to a set of solutions that allow various services to be provided on demand, via internet.

Today, companies and administrations need adaptability of IT systems to ensure efficient management of their data, infrastructures and applications. This flexibility must allow the service to be adapted according to the user’s needs. This leads to the need to share data or innovative services with customers more quickly. This demand is met through the implementation of a Cloud that offers the technical means to meet it.

This technology should make it possible, among other things, to improve the efficiency of applications, facilitate their updating and reduce development and data storage. The Cloud allows for the separation or flexible coupling of usage, processing and storage locations. This separation provides efficient and consistent access to the same service at multiple locations (or by multiple entities) either synchronously or asynchronously.

What use and opportunity for ATM?

Reliable and secure networking capability is essential for the successful use of safety critical ATM applications. The Cloud therefore contributes to a centralisation of services and a backup of sensitive data on a secure infrastructure. It improves the resilience of the information system by enabling the implementation of distributed infrastructures and applications. It also allows quick and easy remote access to the information and services it holds.

In the context of ATM operations, the benefits of the cloud are as follows: 

  • Reduced deployment time and costs
  • Reduced and predictable operating cost, including maintenance cost
  • Scalable and elastic capacity
  • Increased availability
  • Standardised process/resource alignment
  • Accelerated pace of technology transition
  • Contributes to the use of advanced technologies (AI, virtual reality)
  • Help in managing hardware and software obsolescence

The Cloud is therefore a technology that represents a real interest for ATM, since it allows savings and gains in performance and efficiency. The Cloud also meets the safety and security challenges of the field through highly secure protection and access, as well as the possibility of redundancy of the data and applications it hosts.

How does Coflight Cloud Services work?

Coflight Cloud Services is currently a virtualised system and will eventually be deployed on a private ATM Cloud. This means that it remains the property of the ATM players and therefore allows them to have full control over the data, software and applications stored on it. CCS is managed by business experts who have full control of the infrastructure. It is one of the first systems in the critical ATM domain that can be deployed in a Cloud infrastructure, thus benefiting from gains in terms of administration, innovation and resource optimisation.

CCS is based in two separate data centers: one in Paris and the other being deployed in Rome. This ensures greater resilience and more safety and security for the data. The use of CCS on a cloud platform allows for this risk management internally: if a subsystem fails, the cloud platform detects it and restarts it immediately.

Thanks to the efforts and energy of the DSNA and ENAV teams, CCS is able to provide its customer skyguide with a set of ATM data processing services (flight plan, weather, etc.) based on the latest Cloud Computing technologies. This allows controllers to benefit from continuous innovation, with increased speed and reduced costs compared to traditional ATM infrastructures, without compromising the safety and security of the system. The scalability offered by Cloud Computing allows the services offered by CCS to be operated by new customers without having to suffer from heavy installations or deployments at their premises.