Talon FAST™
#Global Travel Group Centralizes Data with Talon FAST™ **About Expedia Group** Expedia Group is the world’s travel platform, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes some of the world’s leading online travel brands. Collectively, the Expedia Group brands cover every aspect of researching, planning, and booking travel, from choosing the best airplane seat, to reading personal travel reviews of hotels, to planning what to do in a destination once you arrive. The Expedia Group portfolio serves both leisure and business travelers with tastes and budgets ranging from modest to luxury. Expedia.com is a travel website owned by Expedia Group. The website can be used to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and various attractions and services via the internet or telephone agents. The site uses multiple global distribution systems like Amadeus or the Sabre reservation systems for flights and hotels, Worldspan and Pegasus, along with its own hotel reservation system for contracted, bulk-rate reservations. With over 22,000 employees and 250 booking offices globally, Expedia Group is prepared to provide you the travel experience you crave. Travel websites like HomeAway, trivago, Orbitz, and Hotels.com are just a few of Expedia Group’s partners in providing customers with world class travel services. If you want to travel, Expedia Group can take you there. **The Challenge: Consolidating Remote Office Storage** Expedia Group is a global travel group comprised of almost 22,000 employees spread across the world. Each of those employees belongs to a different brand under the Expedia Group umbrella. Each brand has their own set of offices, each with unique hardware and server infrastructure. This diverse spread of IT hardware makes it nearly impossible for IT managers to consolidate and standardize anything, let alone manage the petabytes of company data shared between offices. Since Expedia Group grows almost daily through acquisition, they’re constantly dealing with these problems. With each brand acquisition comes new users, new offices, and new storage infrastructure. Every office within these brands uses a different form of on-premise storage to complement their data management strategies. Some offices don’t even have a local server for data management, and instead rely on individual users to manage their own data. Depending on the location, some users were using their own personally purchased hardware and workstations to edit and share project data. If other users needed access to this data, they would share it through USB drives or emails. The sheer variety in storage footprints in their offices made it incredibly difficult to standardize infrastructure across the company. Distributing data between three primary storage centers in Phoenix, Chandler, and Dublin didn’t help matters. Maintaining and consolidating server infrastructure on such a scale was incredibly difficult, but the constant addition of new users from acquisitions made it impossible. While users might access data from these data centers, there was no way to ensure it was transferred back to the data center, resulting in massive islands of distributed data. This poor infrastructure in some remote locations inhibited data control and presented a major security risk. Depending on the department, employees could be working with massive creative suite files, marketing materials, videos, and excel files comprising up to 25TBs of data. Other offices only had 1TB of local data, meaning each individual office present in Expedia Group’s global network had a different storage footprint. Maintaining any sort of centralized data strategy with such a diverse distribution of hardware and storage was difficult. IT managers needed to be able to monitor how this data was growing, where it was located, and what sorts of threats it might present. These massive islands of data across the world rendered such a goal unattainable. Expedia Group needed consolidation. It needed centralization and control. The sheer variety in types of hardware present in their acquired brands meant that IT was more about putting out fires than solving problems. No headway could be made in the current environment. Collaboration among users was key, but unless that collaboration took place in a controlled, centralized data environment, users would continue to distribute data across the enterprise. **The Solution: Talon FAST™ and Microsoft Azure** Since Expedia Group contains such a diverse group of brands and offices, they wanted a solution that could standardize all data across those offices without hindering daily operations. They needed a solution that would account for their continually growing acquisitions without requiring extra hardware or investment. Their initial thought was to transition all data into the cloud, effectively centralizing all distributed data and uniting remote offices. Upon closer examination though, it was found that the currently available cloud solutions would reduce workflow and cost a small fortune. Moving 50TB of data into the cloud could cost thousands of dollars, and with some offices storing at least 30TB, the costs would quickly outweigh the benefits. Instead, Talon proposed an on-site evaluation of Talon FAST™ to demonstrate how our technology would integrate with Expedia Group’s existing commodity hardware. The demonstration was designed to be a blueprint of an actual production environment, so Expedia Group managers could see the full effect of the software. The goal was to convince both IT teams and knowledge workers of the benefits of switching to FAST™ and utilizing a local cache, instead of transitioning into a costly cloud solution. While the benefits of FAST™ could be explained in a presentation, a hands-on demonstration of how it impacts a working environment would prove to be more informative. The evaluation followed the same procedure Talon engineers would take to install FAST™ normally. Since FAST™ Edge instances run on a virtual machine (VM), they’re both simple to install and non-intrusive to existing users. Talon engineers were able to utilize Expedia Group’s existing commodity hardware to create a centralized data environment for users. FAST™ maintains a single set of data in the central datacenter. Since FAST™ also simplifies branch office IT infrastructure by virtualizing the branch and eliminating file storage and backup services, users no longer needed to use their own personal hardware to manage data. The local users responded with fantastic feedback, saying that they “couldn’t tell a difference between working on their hard drives and the local cache.” After the demonstration, Talon ran a workshop to analyze Expedia Group’s current options. After seeing FAST™ in action, Talon engineers were able to explain and demonstrate the impact FAST™ software would have on Expedia Group’s daily operations. Moving large caches of data into the cloud, while a good idea in theory, didn’t benefit Expedia Group’s brands as much as utilizing their existing datacenters in conjunction with cloud storage. Instead of investing thousands of dollars into new hardware or a singular cloud storage solution, they could provision all their existing data into a single data center and extend it to remote locations with intelligent file caching. This would meet the need for a scaling software and enable disaster recovery of isolated branches, without the extra cost of pure cloud storage. Additionally, FAST™ helped integrate IT services and processes and directly impacted how IT managers handled data. With data so readily available at all offices, users could communicate with other users on problems and access company information immediately. This simplified the consolidation issued and ensured that Expedia Group data was being managed from a centralized environment, negating the security threat. This integration of hardware and software was groundbreaking for Expedia Group, since integrating new users and technology had always been a struggle. This was a big change from the previously slow sharing methods present in the company. Previously the business operated in a very fragmented state. Every division was isolated in how they operated, and communication between divisions was slow at best. With the global unified namespace created by FAST™, users and data were no longer isolated. Global file locking ensured version control and facilitated real-time collaboration, while the intelligent file caching mechanism of FAST™ addressed latency issues associated with traditional file sharing methods. The flexibility of the Talon software fit the gap between user and data center seamlessly. By integrating users into a centralized storage environment, IT managers could simplify communicate between offices, share relevant data with other divisions, and speed up daily operations. For an enterprise as large as Expedia Group, connecting remote offices and controlling data is revolutionary. IT managers can not only monitor and secure company data, but they can see how it fits certain policies and the roles it’s playing in the work environment. Consolidation of so many different storage footprints was the key goal in implementing FAST™. Not only did it achieve this, but it allowed Expedia Group to tighten their storage footprint and eliminate the risk of islands of data sitting in remote locations. Moving forward, Expedia Group plans to extend FAST™ to all offices within their branches. As a global enterprise, they need to ensure every office and every user is working from the same data set at the same time. They no longer need to worry about excess hardware or isolated data. Any new brand acquisitions will be added to the FAST™ network, and all data will be managed centrally, without dealing with integration roadblocks. **Results** FAST™ centralized and consolidated Expedia Group’s remote office servers and isolated data. Talon engineers opted for an on-premise centrally managed data set, as opposed to complete cloud storage, to better serve Expedia Group’s teams. By utilizing their existing commodity hardware, Expedia Group could consolidate existing data into one central datacenter and extend it to their global offices with FAST™. This ensured that all data was placed in a centralized environment. Users could work in this environment without needing to isolate data on their own personal machines and simplified the data control process. With all data centralized, IT mangers could monitor remote locations and existing hardware to ensure data was being properly managed, without needing to worry about user interference. As Expedia Group continues to expand through acquisitions they will no longer face serious integration challenges amongst the new users. “We’re very pleased with the results of Talon’s software. We were skeptical at first, but after the demonstration we couldn’t believe how well it worked. We had planned to migrate all our data into the cloud, but with FAST™ we were not only able to save money, but we have a solution for any new offices we may add.” Talon FAST™ helped Expedia Group consolidate distributed data, connect remote offices, and enable global collaboration between users. - FAST™ consolidated isolated data into one central data center - FAST™ gave Expedia Group IT managers transparent control of company data for better analysis and security - Talon used a hands-on demonstration to show the effects of FAST™ to help all Expedia Group managers to make an informed decision about their data - FAST™ improved customer experience by enabling faster collaboration and workflow between branch offices and customer facing applications **Vision for the Future** “With FAST™ we know that all our offices are working together on the same data. Since we plan to keep expanding our brand portfolio in the future, we’re looking forward to working with Talon to add those new offices into the existing network. We’re excited to see how we can work with Talon to continually improve our organization in the future.” *Learn more about centralization for global enterprises.* Learn more »