Compaq's Himalaya has Sabre rattling IBM

Compaq has landed one of the largest ever deals for its NonStop Himalaya server, under which leading travel industry specialist...

Compaq has landed one of the largest ever deals for its NonStop Himalaya server, under which leading travel industry specialist Sabre Holdings, will replace its ageing IBM mainframe.

The multi-year agreement, worth over $100m, will see Dallas based Sabre moving its air shopping system to Compaq's open platform. The travel system includes a continuously changing database containing over 45 million fares and a further 5 billion 'constructed' fares which are dynamically created for unique travel itineraries.

'This partnership with Sabre demonstrates how Compaq delivers world-class solutions for the most demanding business environments,' says Dave Russell, NonStop business systems manager for Compaq UK and Ireland. 'Compaq understands the complexity of Sabre's business, and is working with them to build the most advanced real-time enterprise that will provide tremendous competitive advantage in the travel industry.'

Compaq claims Sabre's decision to take its system was based on prototype and proof-of-concept projects performed by the company which show it can lower its total cost of operation on its online ticket shopping application by 40 per cent. It also believes it can improve programmer productivity by 100 per cent, and reduce the time it takes to update fare information by 75 per cent compared to using IBM's mainframes.

Sabre says a typical day will involve over 300,000 changes to its database, which can increase to upwards of 2 million during special promotions, and is expected to grow by as much as 70 per cent year-on-year. It revealed its decision to choose the Himalaya system was influenced by Compaq's recent decision to standardise its 64-bit platforms on Intel's Itanium processors, which Sabre claims provides a long-term roadmap for the NonStop platform.

The new system will utilise Compaq's Zero Latency Enterprise which is aimed at integrating large volumes of data into a single database and competes with TPF, IBM's own high-volume transaction processing platform.

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