British Airways is using real-time application monitoring to help ensure critical services remain available to customers on its BA.com website.
The online flight booking site is central to the airline's efforts to provide greater levels of customer self-service. It allows customers to specify meal preferences and seat allocation, check the amount of Executive Club points they have accrued and redeem these against flights. Most recently, the site introduced a shopping basket, allowing visitors to make hotel reservations and hire cars.
To ensure services provided by the site are available, BA has deployed Wily Introscope applications monitoring software. BA e-business technical manager Peter Roberts said that, in the past, it could take seven minutes to pickup a problem with an individual server, during which time a service maybe unavailable to customers.
Introspective provides a real-time view of the system, allowing BA.com to check whether a critical service, such as the link to the Amadeus ticketing system, is operating correctly. "We want to recognise a problem as quickly as possible," said Roberts.
The BA site is built on the Linux open source operating system. At the end of 2004 BA began a project to migrate the site from Sun servers running Solaris to Intel Xeon servers running the Red Hat 3 Enterprise distribution of Linux.
The performance of the Java-based site, which uses the BEA Weblogic 8.1 application server, has been boosted threefold thanks to the use of JRockit, said Roberts. JRockit is BEA's Java virtual machine, which was co-developed by Intel.
BA is now looking to expand the use of Linux on the site for running mission-critical applications. Roberts said he was investigating using Linux for running its Oracle 9i database, which currently runs on the Aix and Solaris Unix operating systems.