All Nippon Airways Links Critical Systems with Oracle Service Bus Technology
by Alison Weiss, May 2012
Executives at All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA), Japan’s largest passenger airline, believe expanding the international business is the best way to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. And one key factor in its strategy for success is to create a standardized infrastructure to link mission-critical enterprise systems, internally and externally. Recently, the company worked with Oracle partner, NEC Corp., to implement Oracle Service Bus, a lightweight integration technology to integrate, virtualize and manage services in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Now, ANA has a reliable, highly available interface to link enterprise systems internally and externally. While interface management is definitely easier, associated management costs are much lower—by as much as 30 percent.
The changing business climate means ANA needs to link its systems with overseas airline companies as part of Star Alliance, the leading global airline network. In addition, the company faces growing demand by customers to access systems to make reservations and purchase of tickets via the Internet. Akihiro Yamaguchi, Team Leader of the Planning Management Team at ANA says, “It is essential to build a durable infrastructure that allows prompt responses not only to risks that are beyond our control, such as currency exchange, weather, and natural disasters, but also drastic changes in the business environment.”
ANA decided to work with Oracle Partner NEC Corp to create a standardized infrastructure because of NEC’s vast experience with mission-critical domains. NEC, which has been an Oracle partner for over two decades, was named Japan Partner of the Year in 2011 as part of the Oracle Excellence Awards. In addition, the company has achieved Specialized status in SOA as part of the Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialized program.
NEC recommended Oracle Service Bus as the core software for ANA’s SOA because it can process the differences between systems that use a variety of protocols and data types, and loosely couple the services that are vital to SOA. Instead of using a traditional “point-to-multipoint” relationship to make connections between systems, Oracle Service Bus enables complicated systems to be connected “one-to-one.” Such simplified links between systems provides easier management, and it also allows systems to be added simply through connection to the common infrastructure. In addition, Oracle Service Bus provides a way to connect systems without degrading performance or availability levels. This was a critical concern with ANA’s domestic seating reservation system which requires a high level of performance and availability, particularly during busy travel seasons.
The new common system infrastructure was put into operation at the end of October 2010, and by February 2011, approximately 70 systems had been successfully migrated to the new infrastructure. It used to take one or two months to implement new interfaces. Now, with standardized interfaces and automated testing tools, ANA can complete the entire process in about five days. Yamaguchi says, “The migration plan was prepared and implemented smoothly.” Next on the agenda in 2012 is the migration of domestic passenger systems.
“This was an important project for NEC,” says Masayoshi Takahashi, IT Software Division Chief at NEC. “The knowledge gained during this project will be useful not only in future projects pursued by ANA but also for other clients who are considering the use of SOA.”