DerbySoft is an enterprise-independent global distribution network (GDN) that enables travel-product suppliers, distributors, and search engines to connect with each other while maintaining their own business models, connectivity preferences, and data logic. DerbySoft’s partners include tour operators and travel agencies (such as Orbitz and Expedia), most of the top 10 global hotel chains (such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott), and smaller regional chains in Europe and China. The company was founded in Shanghai, China in 2002, employs 130 people, and has offices in Japan, Europe, and the United States.

DerbySoft’s goal is to provide easy, fast, and flexible connectivity between all the players in the travel industry. To do that, in 2011 the company decided to build a distributed network for data exchange—one that would provide rapid performance for all partners regardless of their location. “Our system is used by people in every corner of the world,” says Feng Ou, CTO. “Making our network globally available was a huge challenge—we needed very powerful scalability and very low latency.” 

The company also wanted to reduce its operating costs, automate transactions between partners, and maximize data speeds and computing power. DerbySoft did not want to invest in hardware for the network or in running a platform—instead, the company wanted its IT staff to focus on more innovative work.

Needing a solution that would provide global availability, save costs, and make automation and redundancy easy, DerbySoft decided to move its infrastructure and operations support to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We must be able to respond to customer needs at any time,” Ou says. “Using the AWS Cloud, we can enable application deployment from data centers that are closer to our customers, ensuring low latency and high availability.”

DerbySoft has deployed AWS in Hong Kong, Japan, the US, and Singapore, to ensure that customers in Asia are able to access updated information quickly. The company uses AWS to provide real-time data for more than 8,000 hotels in its network, synchronizing information regularly for everyone who uses the DerbySoft system.

The company uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for its deployment environment, with Elastic Load Balancing to allow the system to automatically adjust to dynamic traffic volumes. Auto Scaling provides dynamically scalable, real-time adjustments based on computing systems and storage resources. Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) stores basic data and system reports for MySQL applications. DerbySoft provisioned a logically isolated section of AWS with Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to create a virtual network.

The company uses Amazon ElastiCache to deploy, run, and extend memory, to improve page load times, and to provide the flexibility needed to reduce the risk of overloading the database. Amazon CloudWatch is used to monitor AWS Cloud resources.

By using multiple regions, the company can provide users with fast download times and data transfers, and availability that is close to 100 percent. “Shortening the geographical distance between the customer and the data has greatly improved our network performance,” Ou says. “It’s accelerated our customers’ ability to get real-time data fast, no matter where they are—and we have seen explosive growth in users as well.”

The company has also saved nearly $900,000 in capital expenditure by not having to buy servers and other equipment. “Using AWS has reduced the costs and risks of business expansion for us, and improved our time to market with new features,” Ou says. By using AWS, the company also reduced its costs for maintenance, and is able to deploy its IT team on more creative work.

The network’s scalability has also improved. “We can increase server capacity as we need it—it’s a way to easily cope with the surge in users,” Ou says.

DerbySoft plans to expand to all nine AWS Regions going forward to provide its customers with an even more robust network. “AWS is a perfect fit for our globally distributed network,” Ou says. “Using AWS provides us with unparalleled advantages, while saving us resources and providing a stable platform for our customers.”

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