Red Hat Provides Priceline.com With Cost-Effective, High-Performance Solutions

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October 16, 2007

Customer: Priceline.com Incorporated

Industry: Services
Geography: North America
Country: United States


Business Challenge:

Priceline.com regularly sees millions of page views and thousands of bookings per day. As an Internet-based travel service provider, downtime and outages are not an option. The company decided to shift to Red Hat and open source solutions in order to provide the highest-performing services and applications possible and to realize cost savings. Priceline.com also evaluated JBoss due to the company’s predisposition toward developing in Java and to potentially generate further savings based on the open source model.

Solution:

Today, Priceline.com has about half of the infrastructure converted over to a mixture of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite Server, and JBoss Application Server with Tomcat and Apache web servers.

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite Server, and JBoss Application Server with Tomcat and Apache web servers.

Hardware:

Sun V20z servers with AMD Opteron, HP ProLiant DL385 servers with AMD Opteron, and HP ProLiant DL380 with Intel Xeon.

Benefits:

The combination of Red Hat and JBoss has been a win-win for Priceline.com. Priceline.com’s application availability runs >99.97 percent and hits 100 percent for most quarters. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company has realized reduced security patching requirements than with some proprietary application servers. Through a series of initiatives, like the company’s JBoss implementation, Priceline.com IT has been successful in proportionally reducing its relevant domestic operational IT budgets for this type of infrastructure, despite increases in product complexity and product unit volumes. Forward-looking, Xen support and virtualization technologies are extremely attractive to Priceline.com. The company has been testing Xen in its development environments to reduce hardware costs and lower TCO.

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Background:

Priceline.com Incorporated (Nasdaq: PCLN) operates Priceline.com, a leading US online travel service for value-conscious leisure travelers, and Priceline Europe, a leading European online hotel reservation service. In the US, Priceline.com offers customers more ways to save on their airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages, and cruises than any other Internet travel service. In addition to getting the best published prices, leisure travelers can narrow their searches using Priceline.comand’s TripFilterandtrade advanced search technology, creating packages that save even more money and take advantage of Priceline.comand’s famous Name Your Own Priceandreg; service, which can deliver the lowest prices available. Priceline Europe operates one of Europeand’s fastest growing hotel reservation services through its Booking.com network of hotel reservation services, Activehotels.com, and Priceline.co.uk. Priceline Europe operates in 40 countries in 12 languages and offers its customers in Europe and the US access to approximately 25,000 participating European hotels. Priceline.com also operates the following travel websites: Travelweb.com, Lowestfare.com, RentalCars.com, and BreezeNet.com. Priceline.com has a personal finance service that offers home mortgages, refinancing, and home equity loans through an independent licensee. Priceline.com licenses its business model to independent licensees, including Priceline mortgage and certain international licensees. Priceline.comand’s technology execution has been recognized with multiple awards in the past year. Keynote Systems, an Internet performance metrics measurement company, voted Priceline.com number one for reliability in the field of online travel agencies and number one for speed in the field of online travel agencies. Network World magazine also acknowledged Priceline.comand’s data center innovation with an award this year. Our success, however, is more than controlling costs. As our industry awards demonstrate, we’ve been able to attain world-class levels of availability and performance too. Red Hat and JBoss, as a division of Red Hat, have proven themselves to have enterprise-level tools that, when used well, help us attain what all companies want – great availability, great scale, and at a reduced cost when compared to proprietary solutions. – Ron Rose, CIO

Business Challenge:

Ron Rose, CIO at Priceline.com, knows the value of open source and Red Hat. After leaving his position as CTO at Standard and Poor’s Retail Markets where he implemented one of the first large-scale Linux infrastructures in the financial services industry, he arrived at Priceline.com with a plan to implement and deploy Linux once again.

“Even before I came to Priceline.com, I already had a history with Red Hat as a key vendor providing enterprise-level Linux distributions for demanding, real-time, highly available online applications. I was also fully aware of the technical sophistication required from vendors and customers alike in using Linux successfully. After the initial company build was achieved, I knew we would inevitably need to make a change to open source at Priceline.com,” said Rose.

Priceline.com regularly sees millions of page views and thousands of bookings per day. As an Internet-based travel service provider, downtime and outages are not an option. Rose knew they needed to shift to Red Hat and open source solutions not only for cost reduction, but to provide the highest-performing services and applications possible.

Initially, there was a large degree of skepticism within Priceline.com IT about whether open source tools could obtain the levels of availability and stability that they required. But, according to Rose, “It did not take very long for people to realize, once they started using Linux and JBoss, that these are really good tools and are head-to-head competitive with proprietary tools.”

Priceline.com also evaluated JBoss due to the company’s predisposition toward developing in Java and to enable further cost savings based on the open source model. “We took a look at the leading J2EE application servers and we found the feature set and reliability of the JBoss implementation to be as good as, if not better than, the licensed alternatives,” said Rose. “JBoss was also extremely attractive since we would avoid proprietary application server costs.”

Solution:

Today, Priceline.com has about half of the infrastructure converted over to a mixture of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite Server, and JBoss Application Server with Tomcat and Apache web servers.
Hardware: Sun V20z servers with AMD Opteron, HP ProLiant DL385 servers with AMD Opteron, and HP ProLiant DL380 with Intel Xeon.
Software: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite Server, and JBoss Application Server with Tomcat and Apache web servers.

Benefits:

The combination of Red Hat and JBoss has been a win-win for Priceline.com. Priceline.com’s application availability runs >99.97 percent and hits 100 percent for most quarters. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company has realized reduced security patching requirements than with some proprietary application servers. Through a series of initiatives, like the company’s JBoss implementation, Priceline.com IT has been successful in proportionally reducing its relevant domestic operational IT budgets for this type of infrastructure, despite increases in product complexity and product unit volumes. Forward-looking, Xen support and virtualization technologies are extremely attractive to Priceline.com. The company has been testing Xen in its development environments to reduce hardware costs and lower TCO.
 


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