thetrainline.com Cuts Storage 3x, Completes Batch Runs 4x Faster, Triples Data Volume Capacity, and Boosts Website Speed by 10%
 
 

thetrainline.com Cuts Storage 3x, Completes Batch Runs 4x Faster, Triples Data Volume Capacity, and Boosts Website Speed by 10%

thetrainline.com is the United Kingdom’s leading, independent online retailer of train tickets. Customers buying advance fares online save an average of 43%. The company also provides retailing solutions for travel agents and train companies, provides rail content and booking tools for third-party systems, and operates a business travel portal for the corporate market. thetrainline.com is the most popular travel Website in the United Kingdom with 500,000 visitors a day and growing mobile services.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from thetrainline.com

  • "Oracle Exadata gives us more bang for buck than any other comparable database technology on the market. It facilitates agile, innovative approaches to business development and makes the challenges of big data a nonissue." – Josko Grljevic, IS Director, thetrainline.com

  • Sustain rapid search and booking times for hundreds of millions of journey requests per annum, with increasing volumes each year
  • Enhance the customer experience for the millions of people who visit the site each month, many of whom now gain access via mobile devices
  • Handle demand spikes during peak periods without performance degradation and eliminate need for downtime during site maintenance
  • Cut overnight batch processing time for transactional data to ensure timely delivery of daily ticket sales figures to travel agents, train operating companies, and corporate customers, and to support fact-based decision-making
  • Make financial reconciliation data and results of promotional campaigns available to thetrainline.com’s product managers and analysts in near real time and run queries at the speed of thought
  • Store all the commercial data as required and retain all online analytical processing (OLAP)data needed for trend analysis and planning without need to purchase additional hardware
  • Scale to manage a projected tripling of data volumes from 3 terabytes to 9 terabytes in four years without increasing IT support costs

Solutions

  • Cut data storage by a factor of three, using Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression in Oracle Exadata Database Machine, which enabled significantly faster data partitioning and storage and boosted Website response times by an average of 10%
  • Used robust compression performance to eliminate previous need for scheduled downtime when removing or archiving older data, which enabled customers to visit thetrainline.com 24/7
  • Reduced planned outage time for major enhancement or patch applications from three hours to 10 minutes by leveraging Oracle Exadata’s processing speeds
  • Condensed database instances 20%, from 50 to 40, and switched to smaller, appropriately sized servers, which optimized efficiency and cut cooling costs and data center space
  • Stored all the financial data and historic OLAP data, and scaled to accommodate tripling of data volumes in the next four years without the need for additional hardware
  • Archived historical data while still keeping it online for immediate user access without the need for IT team assistance
  • Completed nightly processing of the previous day’s ticket sales data in two hours instead of eight hours
  • Ran business intelligence queries that used to take six minutes in just five seconds
  • Used Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c to radically improve database-related causes for poor application performance
  • Benefited from Oracle Platinum Services to gain proactive system management; two-hour, on-site responses for hardware issues; configuration-specific recommendations; and around-the-clock access to technical expertise throughout the solution lifecycle
  • Leveraged Oracle Platinum Services support to reduce IT resource workload by 30%, which freed IT teams to explore the full potential of Oracle Exadata’s processing power to bring new database applications and services online faster and innovate the business model to deliver further benefits
  • Planned to capitalize Oracle Exadata’s processing speed to enable future, near-real-time queries and reconciliation to identify where, when, and how tickets are being sold to better understand customers and trends
  • Began evaluating service enhancements and additional channels the company can pursue without additional software investment

Why Oracle

Prior to selecting Oracle Exadata, thetrainline.com conducted proofs of concept with both traditional, nonoptimized, commodity hardware and software, and Oracle Exadata’s pre-engineered, ready-to-run platform. The company chose Oracle Exadata for its speed, power, cost-performance, and ability to scale to accommodate rapidly growing data volumes.

"Choosing a traditional, nonintegrated solution would have cost us 3x as much as Oracle Exadata in hardware, software, and project management costs and resulted in a significantly higher lifetime cost of ownership,” said Anant East, head of architecture and infrastructure, thetrainline.com

thetrainline.com chose Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c to manage all stages of the Oracle Exadata lifecycle and automate deployment, maintenance, diagnostics, and tuning. " Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c was critical for the successful migration of our legacy databases to the Exadata platform,” said Simon Keen, Exadata program manager.

Implementation Process

thetrainline.com used Oracle GoldenGate to migrate data from its legacy system to two Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 HC Quarter Rack instances to reduce downtime, avoid risk of data loss, and eliminate the need for complex programming.

"Oracle GoldenGate enabled us to complete the migration of three terabytes to Oracle Exadata, within a single 30-minute system outage,” East said. "Without Oracle GoldenGate, we would have required a 20 hour outage window to complete the migration, something that was completely unacceptable."

Oracle Consulting and Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services assisted thetrainline.com’s systems implementer and hosting partner during pre-sales and throughout the implementation.

"Oracle Consulting and Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services worked seamlessly with us and our partners," Grljevic said. "The Oracle teams provided technical knowledge, executed compression testing on our own data, advised on size and configuration, and recommended and applied patches. The excellent cross-team collaboration ensured a timely implementation, smooth go-live and problem-free switchover that caused no disruption to customers."