Worldspan selects IBM Mainframes

IBM announced that Worldspan, L.P, has selected six new System z9 Enterprise Class (EC) mainframe servers to provide electronic data services that link approximately 700 travel suppliers around the world to millions of travelers. Worldspan’s selection comes after the completion of an exhaustive review of all available options for their future capacity needs. The decision marks their continued commitment to the mainframe platform for core transaction processing that is seamlessly integrated with IBM System x Intel server technology for shopping functions such as Worldspan’s industry leading e-Pricing® low-fare shopping technology.

Worldspan is using the new System z9 EC to provide brick-and-mortar travel agents as well as online travel reservation sites with the ability to shop and book travel products from airlines, hotels, car rental companies and other travel service providers globally, via the Worldspan global distribution system (GDS). Additionally, the company is taking advantage of a unique Capacity On-Demand Offering to ramp up computing power on a daily basis and to accommodate spikes in reservations and ticketing.

“We’re pleased to be continuing our long-standing relationship with IBM, and in turn providing our customers advanced mainframe technology that will exemplify our commitment to excellence,” said David Lauderdale, Worldspan chief technical officer and senior vice president. “We are looking forward to tapping into additional computing capacity on demand with ease, when travel demand is peaking—particularly around the summer, spring break and Thanksgiving holidays.”

Using IBM’s Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) software, Worldspan is able to process well over 17,000 customer transactions per second within the mainframe complex. The company plans to implement the newest version of the software, z/TPF, which allows for more contemporary use of design and development tools.

“Worldspan’s selection of the System z9 EC is a great example of how mainframe technology continues to offer customers the most reliable and secure systems, with the ability to handle critical back-room operations in the world’s most complex industries,” said Jim Stallings, general manager, IBM System z. “We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Worldspan and to provide them with the industry’s most advanced technology, demonstrating IBM’s commitment to innovation.”


“IBM and Worldspan have jointly focused on opening up the Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) operating system to fully leverage open systems-based technology, which is critical to Worldspan’s global leadership position in Web-based travel e-commerce. The System z9 servers running TPF support Worldspan’s expanding use of technologies such as TCP/IP, XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and IBM WebsphereMQ,” said Lauderdale.

The six new machines will be linked to form a complex with a total available capacity of almost 62,000 MIPS. While the complex is architected to meet Worldspan’s capacity needs for the next five years, the inherent scalability of the machines will allow Worldspan to nondisruptively add even more capacity, should that be required. In addition to the scalability offered, key factors in Worldspan’s decision included the capability of the z9 systems to accommodate, at a hardware level, the latest security standards found only in z9, such as EAL5 certification, the latest new AES standard level of encryption algorithm, master encryption keys stored in a tamper-resistant package, and the use of new Intrusion Detection Services.