Omio: Taking the hassle out of travel with Google Cloud Platform

About Omio

Omio—formerly known as GoEuro—is a convenient search and booking platform for travel by train, bus, and plane in Europe. With over 800 European travel partners in 35+ countries, Omio is one of Europe's fastest-growing travel companies, with 27 million monthly users and backed by some of the world's leading tech investors.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Germany

With Google Kubernetes Engine, Omio built a service-based infrastructure capable of scaling on demand, boosting the speed of deployment, and improving stability.

Google Cloud results

  • Increases services from eight to more than 300, boosting automation of DevOps tasks
  • Speeds up deployment, reducing bootstrap times and resulting in more improvements and new features
  • Simplifies and standardizes workflows across the company, allowing for rapid scaling of new teams

Production bootstrapping cut from two weeks to 30 mins

Holidays can be stressful. While online booking and smart devices have made travel planning more convenient, the sheer number of options for types and prices of tickets has complicated the experience, and keeping track of different logins, QR codes, and etickets can be overwhelming. Omio, which recently rebranded from GoEuro, aims to simplify the travel experience by incorporating multi-stage routes across Europe into a single platform via its web-based search engine and mobile apps. Users can search for, book, and store tickets for planes, trains, buses, and even ferries without ever having to leave the app.

"There was a big bottleneck. Developers would deliver updates and then have to wait up to a week to deploy. We needed a cloud-based infrastructure that could scale on demand and would also fit the way we wanted to work. For us, that was Google Cloud Platform."

Ilya Kozlov, Director of Ops and Cloud Computing, Omio

Since it launched in 2013, Omio has grown fast, partnering with over 800 travel providers across 35+ countries and enabling travelers to reach more than 80,000 destinations. Today, more than 27 million people from all around the world use Omio every month. Back in 2015, the company's existing on-premises infrastructure became increasingly strained as Omio grew. Rather than helping the company, the limits of the infrastructure had become an obstacle for its developers.

"There was a big bottleneck. Developers would deliver updates and then have to wait up to a week to deploy," says Ilya Kozlov, Director of Ops and Cloud Computing at Omio. "We needed a cloud-based infrastructure that could scale on demand and would also fit the way we wanted to work. For us, that was Google Cloud Platform."

Google Kubernetes Engine for improved scalability

Omio knew that, as a fast-growing startup with limited resources, keeping an on-premises setup was no longer a feasible option. "We had to do all our capacity planning up front, we couldn't scale on demand and we had to take care of all the networking, storage, and hardware maintenance," says Subhas Dandapani, Principal Engineer at Omio. The company also took a long, hard look at the way it worked, searching for ways to improve. "It wasn't just a technical problem," explains Subhas. "We had a work process issue that had led to this bottleneck and we needed to change."

Omio's team re-examined everything about the way it worked and reconceptualized DevOps as a "contract"; a simple, testable service that could scale rapidly, automate as much as possible, and evolve with demand. With its goals in place, Omio set about bringing them to fruition. Very quickly, it saw that an infrastructure designed around Kubernetes would be most suitable, but it needed a level of management that would not overstretch the limited resources of the DevOps team. "At the time, there was really only one solution that fit our needs," says Ilya. "That was Google Cloud Platform."

Omio migrated to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in stages over time, allowing it to implement the new architecture securely and without any downtime or disruption for its customers. Google Kubernetes Engine, with its managed services, would be the core of the new infrastructure. In addition to reducing the management overhead, the autoscaling capabilities of Google Kubernetes Engine made Omio's practice of continuous integration (CI) far simpler than with an on-premises architecture, where servers had to be provisioned up front.

"We found Google Kubernetes Engine to be very stable and very easy to work with. We're only exposed to what's necessary. We don't have to tweak anything internal or get involved in too much detail to get the work done."

Lorenzo Fundaro, DevOps Engineer, Omio

With Cloud Storage, the company could secure and hold its static assets, while Cloud Pub/Sub and Cloud Dataproc were used for messaging and data pipelining. The Cloud SDK command-line tool proved especially popular with engineers who could easily replicate and automate the tasks that they used to have to do manually. This, along with the strengths of the platform itself, helped to minimize errors and maximize stability, according to Lorenzo Fundaro, DevOps Engineer at Omio.

"We found Google Kubernetes Engine to be very stable and very easy to work with," he says. "We're only exposed to what's necessary. We don't have to tweak anything internal or get involved in too much detail to get the work done."

Faster, simpler, more stable

Omio felt the impact of the new infrastructure almost immediately, with developers no longer limited by the technology they work with. Previously, the company ran eight services which stretched its stack almost to the breaking point. After completing the migration, the company had scaled to more than 50 services, according to Ilya Kozlov, Director of Ops and Cloud Computing. Today, Omio runs more than 300 services.

"We're a startup, so time to release is one of the most important things for us. DevOps used to be about maintaining the system. With Google Cloud Platform, it's about enabling developers to bring new products to our customers as fast as possible."

Ilya Kozlov, Director of Ops and Cloud Computing, Omio

Free from the constraints of maintaining physical hardware, the company's engineers benefit from a streamlined, repeatable workflow that has dramatically cut down the time needed to bring new ideas to production. What used to take one or two weeks is now done in just 30 minutes, says Ilya. Meanwhile, onboarding new engineers now takes very little time as every team is working with the same tools and processes out of the box. This has allowed Omio to add new features such as ferry travel to its platform much faster than before.

"We're a startup, so time to release is one of the most important things for us," says Ilya. "DevOps used to be about maintaining the system. With Google Cloud Platform, it's about enabling developers to bring new products to our customers as fast as possible."

With GCP, Omio is not only faster but also more stable than before. When working with its hundreds of travel partners, the company used to have to manually implement virtual machines to integrate with them, which could lead to problems. In the worst scenarios, a problem with one partner could affect others. Now, with a service-based system, Omio can separate each customer integration and quickly isolate and quarantine any problems, allowing the platform as a whole to continue running.

Since the migration, Omio has kept a close eye on GCP, constantly looking for new ways to improve its platform. The company is currently working to automate even more of its tasks with more services. Meanwhile, the data scientists have been experimenting with BigQuery to see what kind of insights they can gain from the data they are amassing.

"So far they've been using it in combination with data from Google Analytics as well as some ad hoc cases," says Ilya. "It's early days, but the data scientists love BigQuery. We're hoping to move all of our datasets to Google in the future."

About Omio

Omio—formerly known as GoEuro—is a convenient search and booking platform for travel by train, bus, and plane in Europe. With over 800 European travel partners in 35+ countries, Omio is one of Europe's fastest-growing travel companies, with 27 million monthly users and backed by some of the world's leading tech investors.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Germany