Customer Story

GTA Powers Global Travel with Greater Speed and Reliability

Enhanced speed and reliability of applications to deliver superior user experience

Improved capacity planning, reporting, and security

Accelerate release cycles for new products and services

The Beginning

Connecting people with the world around them is a complex business.

Each day, hundreds of thousands of people make travel decisions based on information and services supplied by GTA, a leading distributor of travel products and services to the travel industry worldwide. For nearly four decades, GTA has been the power behind some of the biggest and best in travel through a portfolio of tens of thousands of accommodation options, tour guide and transfer services, unique experiences, city tours, excursions, attraction tickets, and restaurants from more than 50,000 suppliers in 185 countries. On the backend, GTA relies on complex internal systems to process over a billion searches and tens of thousands of bookings every day to sell millions of room nights in more than 25 languages online and throughout the world.

As an intermediary between the travel industry suppliers and their clients, GTA prides itself on its ability to offer both flexibility and reliability. Mark Geldart, Platforms and Operations Manager for GTA explains, "When you are handling tens of millions of searches each hour and thousands of bookings, even a minor outage or dip in performance can have a major impact on the business."

GTA's IT department consists of multiple teams responsible for different areas including network, application development, and security. Even with a global footprint spanning 86 offices across 38 strategic locations, GTA has a largely centralised IT infrastructure. As such, the business must maintain high visibility into its application and service delivery environment, which needs to be available 24 hours a day. If there are problems, the IT department needs to be able to move quickly before service is disrupted – not an easy proposition when your application stack consists of a complex mix of custom-built and off-the-shelf applications running across physical and virtualised servers.

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ExtraHop has become our most valued asset when it comes to troubleshooting but over the years, its use has expanded across a whole host of cases that span capacity planning, reporting, and security.

Thomas Bowles
Monitoring and Reporting Analyst, GTA

The Transformation

ExtraHop gives insight into the systems, and their impacts.

For GTA, visibility into one application or one part of the infrastructure isn't enough. The interconnected natures of their systems and the scale at which they process transactions means they need to understand not just individual application performance but the impact of different applications and infrastructure components across all systems.

"ExtraHop allows us to drill down into an application or HTTP transaction and pull out detailed information that would normally require multiple tools – or in some cases, would be almost impossible to gather quickly," explains Thomas Bowles, Monitoring and Reporting Analyst for GTA.

In one incident, Bowles reported that when customers performed a search, results would be returned normally, but when the customers tried to complete the purchase, the response would time out. "It was an annoying issue to pin down as it seemed to take place randomly. It was only when we used ExtraHop to drill down into the transaction record that we discovered a misconfiguration in the load balancer and server cluster that was causing the transaction to fail under certain conditions."

"We deployed ExtraHop nearly eight years ago and the initial rationale was to use it as a network monitoring tool," explains Bowles. "ExtraHop has become our most valued asset when it comes to troubleshooting but over the years, its use has expanded across a whole host of cases that span capacity planning, reporting, and security."

The Outcome

ExtraHop helps deliver ideal customer experiences.

After several years working with ExtraHop following many years in the IT industry, Geldart claims ExtraHop is by far the easiest and most comprehensive monitoring solution he's come across. "Almost every day, ExtraHop delivers incredibly valuable insights that allow us to fix problems, improve user experience, and understand our networks and applications to help us make better long-term strategic decisions."

GTA also uses ExtraHop to support performance testing, especially before new code releases go live. "We can generate extremely detailed metrics on the performance down to individual websites and transactions without having to use agents," says Bowles, "This is useful for the dev teams and helps us to ensure that our clients are always getting a seamless online experience."

On top of everything else, Geldart also welcomes the flexibility and ease-of-use. "ExtraHop powers several dashboards that we use for service reporting that provide a real-time view of all of our applications and services that are not only useful to IT teams but has been appreciated by senior management across the business."