According to Kravchenko, one of the main challenges they face as they migrate to z/TPF, which is a 64-bit operating system, is having to use new compilers. ”This means compiling source code under both compilers and then seeing how the expanded memory of the new operating system works with our existing software,” Kravchenko says.
Marriott’s current hotel reservation system processes 1,200 transactions per second, with less than 2-second response time for 99 percent of all transactions, so ensuring the same level of performance under a new operating system version with a new compiler is no small task. Nevertheless, z/TPF offers new commercial opportunities for Marriott in the systems area that it can’t realize with TPF 4.1.
Kravchenko says that with the TPF-z/TPF platform changes under way, Marriott’s entire hotel reservations system now processes eight times as many transactions as it did seven years ago, yet at a lower cost.
“We’ve chosen to retain our core transaction processing on TPF, which provides us with 24/7/365 uptime at a performance level of 99.99 percent,” says Kravchenko. “When you spread this cost over the number of transactions we have grown by, the system has actually become less expensive to run.”
The IT skills at Marriott important in this environment include a detailed understanding of all the things a real-time, high-volume transaction processing system does. Among these are massive parallel access to the same database, subsecond response times, efficiency of transactions, and knowledge of thread-based processing.
“Once we complete the migration to z/TPF, we will begin to see the real benefits of 64-bit application processing,” says Kravchenko. “It will move us to a truly scalable computing environment that also will allow us to convert system interfaces to callable services.”
With 4,300 hotels worldwide and an online transaction processing rate of 2,000 transactions a second, IHG adopted TPF 40 years ago and has never looked back.
“Every second, three guests are checking in,” says Alex Grigorian, IHG’s vice president of Enterprise Technology. “TPF is the heart of our central reservation systems.”
Like Marriott, IHG is considering migrating to z/TPF.