Time to move on

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-11-07 Print this article Print

Transat is one of Canadas largest vacation tour companies, focused on the organization, marketing and distribution of holiday travel packages. Through its subsidiaries, the company operates several Canadian and European tour companies and travel agencies. Transat is also the parent company of Air Transat airline.

Last year, Transat decided it was time to upgrade the systems running its core travel reservations application, Accovia Inc.s Logitours. The systems, three Sun Fire 6500 servers, needed to be phased out because their power consumption, maintenance and general overhead were becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive.

With the Sun Fire 6500 servers already running at about 100 percent of their capacity—and expected to hit 150 percent of their capacity during the holiday season—Transat IT staffers knew they needed to bring in an infrastructure that the company could grow into—and fast.

During the process of evaluating different server solutions, Guillemette and François Babin, a senior administrator of Unix systems at Transat, had several criteria but one main objective—to increase the performance and overall capacity by enough to sustain the companys transaction load for the next three years. Guillemettes and Babins projections were based on data from previous years that showed the organizations transaction load growing by 20 percent per year.

At the same time, the duo wanted to reduce the footprint in the data center to avoid having to purchase a digital cooling system and an upgrade of the UPSes (uninterruptible power supplies) in their computer room. They also wanted to reduce the number of CPUs in their data center, from 117 to fewer than 40, to save on licensing costs—specifically, for the IBM Informix database that stores data for the reservations system.

Earlier this year, Guillemette and Babin sat down with representatives from Sun and Accovia and determined that they would be able to decrease the number of CPUs in the data center to about 60 by replacing the Sun Fire 6500s with Sun Fire 6900s. Guillemette and Babin estimated that they will be able to further reduce the number of CPUs to 40 by their May 2006 deadline by adding the UltraSPARC IV+ chips to their new servers.

Next Page: Vacation from overload.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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