How Solace supports SWIM Air Traffic Management Systems

In this edition of “Solace Says,” I interviewed Wayne Osse, Solace’s director of sales engineering in the Americas, from the floor of the World Air Traffic Management Congress in Madrid, Spain. You can learn more about what Solace offers airlines, airports and air navigation safety providers here.

How does the aviation industry benefit from what Solace brings to air traffic management?

Solace provides the backbone in the FAA SWIM (System Wide Information Management) Infrastructure, so we’re able to feed in a real time fashion the airlines and other industries and ecosystems that needs the SWIM data, whether it’s traffic flow, position data of planes, or weather.

So I keep hearing this mention of Open SWIM from Solace.  What is SWIM?

SWIM is a central theme here at this conference, it stands for System Wide Information Management. It’s about taking point to point system and making them publish/subscribe, at a minimum.  But it’s about getting flight data out to other constituents and other ecosystems.  And what Solace does in SWIM in the U.S. is what all the other SWIMs around the world are just starting to try and do.  So the FAA has the implementation, it’s actually working,and it’s using us in other parts of the world, especially Europe, where we are, everybody, in terms of countries, are trying to get access to data and they’re trying to figure out how to build these platforms and how to get SWIM data.

So what problem does Solace solve for air traffic management?

Solace solves the backbone messaging problem.  For instance, in the FAA, it was a matter of panning out to a large number of consumers.  So we’re solving that problem, which is a critical problem, plus we’re reducing band width usage based on compression as well.  That’s a specific problem, but we’re also solving our problem further back in the infrastructure of the FAA SWIM to provide faster throughput, reduced throughput, and real time data to all these consumers.

What are you demonstrating at the show?

We’re demonstrating the multi-Cloud multi-platform nature of what we can supply.  So being able to run on SWIM, and then in the Cloud is something our demo shows.  So we basically take FAA feed data, real time, from their R&D feedin Atlantic City.  We feed that into our Ottawa headquarters, and that’s relayed out to Amazon and distributed out to other regions in Amazon, in Zuro and Google, but also back into an appliance in Ottawa.  So it shows the multi Cloud, multi instance nature of Solace and the(WAN) federation, it’s just natural.

What’s the buzz in Madrid this year?

There are really two “buzzes.” One is that all of these countries in Europe and Asia and all over the world are trying to replicate what the FAA has done with SWIM.  So they’re all trying to figure out how do they build this foundational SWIM system.  And every country, of course, is very unique, with their own requirements.  So they’re trying to figure out how to build those platforms.  That’s one.  The other big buzz is about access to data.  Our ability to deliver the data is a good foundational allotment, but there’s a lot of political and legal reasons, and financial reasons, that make it hard to get data in Europe and in other countries, whereas in the U.S. this data is freely available because of the government structure.

So what question have you been asked most this year in Madrid?

There was recently a major outage of Amazon S3 and everybody knows this.  They are very much aware that that is a very weak point, relying on a single cloud.  So a lot of people have been worried about, well, how do we work, in cases like this, so that’s resonated pretty well with people, especially now.  But they’re all trying to look at how they could operate and build an infrastructure.  And these days, whenever infrastructure comes up, it’s cloud, right?  It’s always a component.  So multi-cloud is definitely a big part of what everybody is asking.

What have you been surprised to learn this year at the show?

Today we have the chief science for Next-Gen here, which is fantastic.  It’s at a level beyond the FAA itself.  So SWIM, which we are involved in, is only one small piece of all of Next-Gen.  So we’re talking to them and we’re trying to see how we can innovate and divide our aid to help them to get architectures and solutions in the Next-Gen fashion.