The scalability of AWS has delivered a considerable benefit; travel agencies no longer need to configure hundreds of machines in their data centers to support traffic peaks that occur when a new offer is launched or during seasonal demand spikes.
Rahul Pilkhwal Chief Technology Officer

Tavisca Solutions provides software platforms and solutions to the travel industry, enabling travel agencies to operate online. These include an online travel booking engine pre-integrated with more than 50 travel inventory suppliers, a travel inventory management system, a hotel-mapping and content-management system, process automation and data synchronization software, and a user profile and authentication management system for enterprises. The business has 300 employees who support about 100 businesses worldwide from three development centers in India and the United States.  

Tavisca started by delivering products that travel businesses purchased to run in their own data centers, then began offering hosting support and management to these businesses. However, the company was prompted to review its infrastructure when it developed Clarifi, a real-time hotel mapping and content-delivery system that delivers data for about one million properties worldwide.

Clarifi helps automate a process that otherwise caused delays of up to six weeks for travel agencies in obtaining and mapping content from hotels. But the system could not realize its potential while running on physical servers that were difficult and expensive to scale. “Problems occurred in processing capabilities and in the length of time the systems had to run to obtain results,” says Rahul Pilkhwal, chief technology officer at Tavisca Solutions. “We realized we had an opportunity to accelerate the process of mapping and matching queries with appropriate providers.”

Tavisca also wanted to dramatically reduce the time needed to bring a travel agency onboard to its systems. Using the company’s old IT infrastructure, it could take up to six months to complete the necessary processes, including certifications and whitelisting of IP addresses.

Tavisca Solutions evaluated several cloud providers and selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) due to its wide range of services and flexibility. “We started in 2011 with a proof of concept that involved testing the capabilities of AWS to support demand spikes and accelerate supplier processing,” says Pilkhwal.

Due to the ease and intuitiveness of AWS services and the skills of its developers, Tavisca was able to transition to AWS using internal expertise rather than an external partner. The business now runs its AWS architecture in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) across two AWS regions for redundancy.

The company uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to run a suite of applications, including its online travel booking engine, travel inventory management system, and office management software for each travel agency.

Travel inventory suppliers who provide inventory for hotel, flights, cars, and other activities vary across customers and need to be isolated in terms of their rates and access. Tavisca uses Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS) to isolate and selectively scale instances of these suppliers according to their business workflow and usage.

Tavisca runs five of its seven key services entirely within AWS. The remainder run partially in the cloud, mainly because certain tools and systems for some services have to be hosted in the client environment. “In some cases, we need to integrate with travel agencies’ internal identity management or accounting systems in on-premises or hosted environments. In these cases, we have created relay services that can integrate with our cloud travel platform,” says Pilkhwal.

Tavisca gained access to AWS Support through the Business Support plan, and Pilkhwal is pleased with the help provided by AWS account and support teams. “The account team has assisted us in taking advantage of AWS architecture training, and the Business Support team has helped us resolve incidents quickly and with a high level of technical skill,” he says.  

Moving to AWS delivered multiple benefits to Tavisca Solutions. The time to process new travel industry suppliers—such as hotels—and integrate their content into Tavisca’s systems now takes less than one week, down from a maximum of six weeks. Furthermore, using AWS has enabled Tavisca to automate a range of processes and, as a result, reduce the time it takes to onboard travel agents to three weeks from a maximum of six months. “The only thing stopping our onboarding from becoming even faster is some of the manual processes we undertake with certain suppliers, and we are currently working on them,” Pilkhwal says. Availability levels of 99.9 percent mean travel agents can be confident the infrastructure supporting their hosted systems will operate as required.

The scalability provided by AWS is particularly valuable to Tavisca. “The travel business is seasonal, with people booking heavily in some months and not in others,” explains Pilkhwal. “A lot of travel agents work with meta searches that provide aggregated results from a range of websites. These meta searches use different logic in determining how they divert traffic to travel providers. In both these areas, the scalability of AWS has delivered a considerable benefit; travel agencies no longer need to configure hundreds of machines in their data centers to support traffic peaks that occur when a new offer is launched or during seasonal demand spikes.”

Using AWS has also enabled Tavisca to save time and money by automating key processes that used to be done manually, such as moving an application from development and testing to production.

“AWS is constantly inventing new services and helping its customers optimize their architectures,” Pilkhwal says. “We look forward to continuing to work with the business over the coming years.”

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