Airnet Case Study
AirNet is a premium air transportation service company. Through their proprietary air network, they provide transportation solutions for customers in over 100 cities nationwide and to every zip code in the country using their same day service.
Goods, people and across many business segments, they transport that which is time-critical or sensitive in nature. Whether it’s donor organs, aircraft parts, professional game films, or five-star generals and CEOs, they know every second counts. With on-demand charter services, which include cargo and passenger charter, their expertise extends to the aerospace, financial service, government, international courier, media, and life sciences industries.
Across all sectors and from on-demand to scheduled services, you’ll find that their dedication to speed, reliability and customer service runs deep. These commitments make AirNet the leader in the time-critical delivery business. Given the time-sensitive nature of the goods being transported, AirNet’s systems require high availability and constant uptime to support the required twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year operations.
AirNet is a round-the-clock operation where high availability is the most important aspect of the database solution. High availability can be described as the availability of a system to its users in the event of a failure. Many hardware manufacturers build in redundant components so that if a failure occurs, the system will remain up and running. Relational database management system (RDBMS) high availability is not dependent only on the hardware, but also in the design of the software itself and its implementation.
Given the nature of the high availability requirements of AirNet, they required a solution that provided absolutely zero down time. These requirements necessitated a migration from their Informix database to an Oracle RDBMS with the RAC option for high availability and fault tolerance. This solution provides an environment where AirNet can support 100% uptime for the database and scale the database according to future needs.
“Based on their experience, knowledge, and skills migrating databases to Oracle, Ross Group Inc provided AirNet with the resources to perform this migration and support the databases after implementation,” according to Craig Leach, Vice President of Information Systems at AirNet.
To achieve the goal of high availability (24 hrs/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year), Ross Group recommended Oracle 9i RAC as the best solution. The first step was to set up a test implementation environment. Once Ross Group installed and configured Oracle software into the development environment, the data was migrated from the multiple Informix databases to the Oracle databases. Post migration, Ross Group tested applications in the new production environment and made the necessary adjustments with AirNet’s application team.
The second task was the actual production environment implementation. This required that Ross Group Inc install and configure Oracle software in the new Windows production environment. As in the test implementation, the data was migrated from Informix databases to Oracle databases. When this was complete, a backup process was implemented.
The final task was the verification of production capability. Ross Group monitored the production server for optimal Oracle performance. After the database migration had been completed, Ross Group assistedAirNet in lifecycle management and staff training. The appropriate AirNet IT staff was trained on the new Oracle environment and tools were implemented for remote monitoring and tuning purposes.
Thirty applications were converted to run in AirNet’s 24x7x365 Oracle environment. In the face of application and OS upgrades and patches, the system maintains high availability. Maintenance on a single node is accomplished by failing over clients to the other node, performing the maintenance, and bringing the second node back on line. Since the RAC cluster is a true active/active cluster, client connections are load-balanced as well as available to failover providing instant scalability, something yet to be accomplished by other RDBMS vendors. According to Craig, “this continuous uptime of our systems has provided better service to our clients. We couldn’t have accomplished this migration without the assistance of the Ross Group.” During a power outage created by ice storms in the Columbus area, AirNet lost an entire enclosure of disk drives in their SAN. Because of the database design, an automatic failover occurred to another enclosure and the business continued running uninterrupted. AirNet estimated thousands of dollars in business was saved by this one incident alone.
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