Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, November 29, 2022

WestJet Flies Lower After Server Consolidation 

Founded in 1996, Canadian airline, WestJet started with three planes and has since grown to 107 in the air today. Along with the growth in aircraft, the company says it’s made a transition in technology, moving from a position where technology was a necessary evil, to it being essential to their operations.

As the company has grown, so have their data demands in both quantity and volume. According to WestJet Senior DBA, Kris Trzesicki, in that time the company’s data needs have ballooned up to the point where costs were running amok.

To combat this problem, the company says that it moved to consolidate all of that data, says WestJet CTO, James Callaghan – a move which they say they’re seeing significant ROI. The company says that they’ve moved all 16 databases into a single Oracle Exadata quarter rack, which they say has resulted in several cost and performance benefits.

While power requirements are an obvious source of these savings, the company says that one area they’ve managed to see significant reductions in are in the human resources needed to operate those systems. “From a data services team perspective, probably 30-50% of the salary budget has been reduced from what it would have been if we didn’t put Exadata in place,” said Callaghan adding that the company is seeing at least a half million dollars in savings on that front on an annual basis.

Simplifying their datacenter through consolidation has also helped to speed up processes, says the company. Processes such as back-ups went from 5 hour endeavors, to a simple half hour job, and batchload processes saw reductions that went from about three hours down to nine minutes. The company says that these speed-ups ultimately make them a better customer service organization.

“The biggest application we have running on Exadata is and our booking agent, so all of our online presence and about $2 billion dollars a year are directly transacted on that system,” commented Callaghan.

As a company with growth as part of their culture, Callaghan says the company is expecting to build on what they’ve started by consolidating more systems in the near future as the company expands.

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