Sabre Holdings Processes More than 200 Million Daily Transactions, Integrates Over 50 Data Sources, and Accelerates Platform Migrations
 
 

Sabre Holdings Processes More than 200 Million Daily Transactions, Integrates Over 50 Data Sources, and Accelerates Platform Migrations

Sabre Holdings is a global travel technology company serving the world’s largest industry—travel and tourism. The company provides software to travel agencies, corporations, travelers, airlines, hotels, car, rail, cruise, and tour operator companies through four businesses: Sabre Travel Network, Sabre Airline Solutions, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, and Travelocity.

More than 1 billion people worldwide use Sabre’s innovative technology to plan, book, and get to their destination at a time and price that is right for them. As the company captures an extremely high volume of transactional data in its reservations, booking, and ticketing systems—among others—it depends on a comprehensive, enterprisewide data warehouse to store, manage, and analyze this information. Sabre also offers a broad range of business intelligence products—that utilize the data warehouse—to provide its customers with the true business intelligence they need to improve their operations, performance, and customer service.

Sabre is focused on innovation and uses leading-edge and flexible technologies—like Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate—for migrations to new systems and with its data warehouse and business intelligence solutions, all which contribute to the company’s success in providing its travel industry customers with the best possible service and information to drive their businesses.

 
Accelerating Integration as Data Sources and Volumes Expand

A word from Sabre Holdings

  • “The unique thing about Sabre Holdings is that we use Oracle technologies to offer products to our customers as well as using them internally to help Sabre run our business more effectively and understand trends and dynamics in the travel industry.” – Jessica Thorud, Director, Sabre Holdings

Sabre invested in developing data warehousing and business intelligence solutions to meet customer needs that provide timely marketplace and customer insights. These solutions have provided value-added offerings beyond Sabre’s traditional products, enabling the company to retain and grow its customer base while enabling its customers to improve their service offerings.

Sabre launched its data warehouse in early 2003, with four source systems for input. Sabre was using highly customized shell scripting in UNIX to load data into the warehouse and as the number of data sources continued to grow, this process was labor intensive and did not provide reusability for future products.

As the number of data sources and customers grew, managing data integration timelines and reporting schedules for internal and external customers became more challenging. Sabre decided it needed a consolidated platform to quickly bring many new data sources into the warehouse—without requiring the technical know-how for each unique data source format. After evaluating several options, Sabre selected Oracle Data Integrator to meet this need.

When Sabre first implemented Oracle Data Integrator, there were approximately 7 data sources being integrated into the warehouse. Today, the number of data sources stands at 53, which includes core transactional sets like travel booking and ticketing data, as well as controlled data, like airport latitude/longitude, carrier operational data, customer check-in information, and traveler profile data. The frequency of loading inbound source systems into the data warehouse ranges from trickle feeds to batch files, which vary from every 15 minutes to daily, weekly and monthly. Sabre also uses Oracle Data Integrator for outbound scheduling of data extracts to customers.

“When we first started using Oracle Data Integrator, we had 3 applications, which has grown to 172 applications with more than 3,000 applications executions each day,” said Jessica Thorud, director, Sabre Holdings. “Our job executions vary in frequency, from every three minutes to monthly, and when you multiply that number by the number of applications and customers, our schedule is saturated. That’s all managed by ODI now, which has allowed Sabre to increase productivity and efficiency in development and time to market for enhancements and new solutions.”

Today, Sabre processes approximately 200 million transactions each day through Oracle Data Integrator and approximately 48 million daily transactions through Oracle GoldenGate. The company’s data warehouse environment holds 25 terabytes of data.

Sabre offers a diverse range of data and business intelligence products, from dashboards enabling airlines to measure performance against key performance indicators (KPIs), to a series of prepackaged reports designed for business users, to structured data extracts for customers wanting to run and create their own data warehouses.

Use of Oracle Data Integrator’s scheduling capability improved reliability in customer data extract deliveries through automation and monitoring of the scheduled executions. Sabre also uses Oracle GoldenGate to replicate eight sources directly from source systems on a real-time basis. The only latency in this process is network latency—less than one-300th of a second.

“The unique thing about Sabre is that we use Oracle technologies to offer hosted products to our customers as well as using them internally, to help Sabre run our businesses more effectively and understand trends and dynamics within the travel industry,” Thorud said.

 
Expanding to New Development Centers

 
Bringing Data to the Forefront

 
Migrating to New Platforms

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Develop data warehouse and business intelligence solutions to meet travel industry customer needs for consolidated data and business intelligence (BI) tools that provide timely marketplace and customer insights
  • Retain and grow customer base across airlines, travel agents, corporations and hospitality organizations
  • Manage continued growth in the number of data sources that need to be integrated into the enterprise data warehouse
  • Standardize development processes across three global locations
  • Enable repeatable processes in data migration and loading initiatives to improve productivity and operational efficiency and accelerate time to market
  • Provide customers with a breadth of easy-to-use BI tools and dashboards to help them make better decisions that lead to improved operations, performance, and customer service

Solutions

  • Implemented Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate to support enterprisewide data warehouse and business intelligence solutions for Sabre’s customers and its own businesses, as well as to streamline migrations to more advanced systems
  • Supported significant growth, incorporating more than 50 new data sources into the data warehouse
  • Used Oracle Data Integrator to manage outbound scheduling for customer data delivery, managing more than 3,000 executions each day
  • Used Oracle GoldenGate to replicate eight sources directly from source systems in real-time, with only one-300th of a second in network latency
  • Standardized development processes across the US, Poland, and India and improved data quality
  • Accelerated speed to market for new solutions and enhancements by enabling Sabre to reduce time by 30% to 40% to integrate a new data source into its warehouse
  • Used Oracle Data Integrator to reuse code, enabling Sabre to add new customers to existing products more efficiently
  • Used Oracle GoldenGate to facilitate migrations from databases to Oracle Database 11g with Real Application Clusters with zero downtime—reducing the development effort and timeline and streamlining system management
  • Worked with HP within a very tight timeline to migrate Sabre’s airline ticketing system from a NSK platform to Oracle Database, as well as redesign the database schema to add new customer-required functionality
  • Processed approximately 200 million daily transactions through Oracle Data Integrator and approximately 48 million daily transactions through Oracle GoldenGate, while maintaining more than 25 terabytes in the data warehouse

Why Oracle

Sabre selected Oracle Data Integrator in 2006 and Oracle GoldenGate in 2007 to support its growing data warehouse and business intelligence solutions. These Oracle middleware products were selected as flexible tools that could be rapidly deployed in a global development environment that uses diverse technology solutions. Sabre also needed a tool to load data into the warehouse and schedule outbound data extracts to external customers and other Sabre applications.

“When we evaluated systems on the market, what we liked about Oracle Data Integrator was the scheduling ease. Our executions were growing each day, and it was becoming a challenge for our teams to keep up with the pace. Oracle Data Integrator provided the foundation for growth of both data sources and customers and allowed us to keep pace with the customer demand,” Thorud said.

When Sabre started to look for a tool to support the database schema redesign in its ticketing system migration, it needed something that could get the job done fast.

“We knew that hiring new people and/or developing custom programs would not be the best bet. We wanted to find a tool to do it for us. Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle GoldenGate helped not only with the migration, but also with the transformation,” Owczarek said.

Implementation Process

Sabre, working with HP, implemented Oracle Data Integrator in 2006 as part of its data warehouse initiative. Hardware and software installation was completed within one week, well under the time estimated for the effort. Sabre trained its development team on Oracle Data Integrator—including onsite training from Oracle for nine developers—starting with overall security and administration all the way to code development.

After completion of training, Sabre targeted an aggressive three-month timeline to migrate 98% of existing applications into Oracle Data Integrator and completed the migration well within that timeframe.

Sabre implemented Oracle GoldenGate in 2007 to support the addition of a new data source into the data warehouse which required integration with a NSK platform. Oracle Golden Gate was selected, based on the ease of integration with the source NSK system, and was implemented and in production within four months. GoldenGate has been adopted and expanded for other business applications within Sabre since the initial implementation.

For the ticketing system data migration project, Sabre and HP divided the initiative into four phases: new data-model design and data mappings specification, Oracle GoldenGate and Oracle Data Integrator proof of concept, data-transformation interfaces development and implementation, and data-migration deployment and validation. Sabre conducted a separate database infrastructure build-out in parallel, including installing a high availability Oracle Database 11g with Real Application Clusters infrastructure that has Oracle GoldenGate bidirectional failover replication.

Partner

  • Oracle Partner
    HP

HP Enterprise Services is an experienced Oracle technology implementation partner, collaborating with Sabre to design and build solutions that enable Sabre to bring high-performance, high-availability, and innovative solutions to the travel and transportation market. HP provides consulting, architecture, and infrastructure delivery, including server and mainframe hosting, network engineering and operations, maintenance, and a variety of other full lifecycle services.

“HP works to define and implement the technology strategy for Sabre’s mission-critical systems, which are some of the highest transaction rate systems in the world,” said, Seamus Egan, vice president Oracle Alliance, HP. “We are pleased to partner with Sabre to deliver best-in-class enterprise solutions to the travel and tourism industry, based on Oracle’s excellent data transformation tools”  

Owczarek added, “On our migration project, HP gave us a high level of comfort by providing dedicated resources. When we started using Oracle Data Integrator, HP worked with us on volume-performance testing for six months, and then turned the program over to its excellent support team. HP executes the migration schedule, piece by piece, completely covering our certification and production environment.”