TravelgateX: Helping millions make journeys with multi-cloud infrastructure

About TravelgateX

The TravelgateX API connects customers in the online travel marketplace with more than 600 sellers worldwide, facilitating more than 2 billion searches and 20,000 bookings every day.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Spain

About Bluekiri

With offices in Spain and Uruguay, Bluekiri helps organizations of all kinds to design, deploy, and manage cloud architecture.

TravelgateX achieves 99.999 percent availability using a multi-cloud infrastructure and Google Kubernetes Engine, to facilitate more than 20,000 bookings a day.

Google Cloud Results

  • Expands from 2 to more than 250 customers with stable, scalable multi-cloud infrastructure
  • Creates a new market analytics product using Google Cloud managed services
  • Deploys in less than a day to anywhere in the world using Kubernetes and Google Kubernetes Engine

Processes 2 billion stack requests a day

Competition is fierce in the booming global travel industry, especially in its dynamic, innovative, online marketplace. From hotels to airlines, companies sell an ever-wider range of products and services to customers worldwide. Typically, travelers book through agencies, which connect to sellers using APIs to check availability, find prices, and confirm sales. Integrating dozens of different APIs can be tricky. So in 2012 when TravelgateX created a single, standardized API for everything from hotels to intercontinental flights to local taxis, it greatly simplified the booking process.

"We connect more than 250 major buyers with 600 sellers," says Oscar Pérez Fuentes, CTO at TravelgateX. "And companies can implement our standardized services in a matter of minutes, instead of spending a month integrating and testing something new."

"We work on three interconnected challenges: concurrency, scalability, and stability. We need to serve up to 3 million requests a minute, while matching daily, monthly, and seasonal peaks in demand. And whatever happens, we need to make sure our platform is up and running 99.999 percent of the time."

Oscar Pérez Fuentes, CTO and Data Products, TravelgateX

The simplicity and speed of the TravelgateX API has made it a market leader, processing more than 2 billion stack requests every day. And at that scale, maintaining high availability all year round is complex.

"We work on three interconnected challenges: concurrency, scalability, and stability," says Oscar. "We need to serve up to 3 million requests a minute, while matching daily, monthly, and seasonal peaks in demand. And whatever happens, we need to make sure our platform is up and running 99.999 percent of the time."

Delivering high availability 24/7 with a multi-cloud solution

For companies offering Software as a Service solutions, high availability is often a core part of their agreements with customers. At TravelgateX, that challenge is magnified by multiple factors. Not only does the solution need to scale fast to meet peaks in demand, it also has to operate at scale, for customers all around the world.

"Our presence is global, but we do a lot of business in Europe," says Oscar. "That means that from 6 am to 10 pm Central European Time, we have 1,000 CPUs running, but only three quarters of that number outside of those hours. There are trends during the week as well. We see a surge of traffic on Sunday afternoons as people search for travel options, followed by a surge of bookings on Mondays. On top of this, there are three seasonal hot spots: before Christmas, before Easter, and a really big peak before the summer vacation."

Highly scalable cloud infrastructure is a cost-effective way to match changing demand, but the company's initial cloud provider was unable to provide the availability of 99.999 percent that TravelgateX required. "We experienced several serious outages, one of which took two days to resolve," says Oscar. "We knew that in order to both meet our customers' expectations and grow as a business, we had to ensure that an outage like that could never happen again."

"Kubernetes is perfect for deploying on two providers in a multi-cloud solution. Recreating architecture on a new platform's virtual machines involves a lot of rescripting, but with Kubernetes, we hardly need to change the setup at all and we can easily manage containers with Google Kubernetes Engine."

Oscar Pérez Fuentes, CTO and Data Products, TravelgateX

To do that, TravelgateX switched to a multi-cloud infrastructure for access to high availability products, with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as a parallel provider. Deploying the same application on two cloud platforms, the architecture uses cloud availability platform Total Uptime to balance loads. "We aim to maintain a 50-50 balance between the two clouds, so that both are operating at scale at the same time," says Oscar. "This way, we can scale up the other cloud in under 10 minutes if needed, instead of twice as long when scaling from scratch."

Although the team initially used instances in Compute Engine as infrastructure, it soon chose Kubernetes as an easy way to mirror the architecture on both cloud providers.

"Kubernetes is perfect for deploying on two providers in a multi-cloud solution," says Oscar. "Recreating architecture on a new platform's virtual machines involves a lot of rescripting, but with Kubernetes, we hardly need to change the setup at all and we can easily manage containers with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)."

Taking service to the next level with big data tools

When they chose to move to a multi-cloud architecture, the TravelgateX team set a rule. "We said we would always use the same architecture in both clouds, without choosing one cloud over another," says Oscar. "Then we saw the Google Cloud big data stack, and we decided to make an exception."

The company's previous managed real-time messaging service would shut down under demand of more than 150 requests a second, limiting the scalability and stability of the entire API. Switching to Cloud Pub/Sub immediately lifted that cap on volume. One exception led to another, and soon the team was using the whole range of Google Cloud big data tools.

"We set up a project using Cloud Pub/Sub and Cloud Dataflow to ingest 3TB of data a day from our transactions, which we send to BigQuery," says Oscar. "We looked at a number of alternatives, but BigQuery was the only system that could handle that kind of volume." Now, after three years of data collection, TravelgateX is unlocking the value of that data with a whole new product.

Built entirely with the Google Cloud big data stack, Insights-X gives travel companies a way to analyze their industry in incredible detail. As well as tracking market trends, predicting developments, and making recommendations, Insights-X gives users granular data on their own performance in real time, from sales to strategy. Based on BigQuery, Insights-X uses Cloud Pub/Sub and Cloud Dataflow for real-time data ingestion, with Cloud Composer to orchestrate workflows. On the front end, customers can choose from three templates for data visualization, all based on Google Data Studio.

"With Insights-X, we're offering our customers a whole new level of service," says Oscar. "First, we made connections between buyers and sellers seamless and simple. Now we're unlocking the true value of our wealth of data, giving businesses the knowledge and analysis they need to get ahead."

"We want to be close to buyers and sellers all around the world so they can enjoy the lowest latency and fastest service. When Google Cloud opens a new data center on its global network, we deploy to that region. With Kubernetes, we can do it in less than a day."

Oscar Pérez Fuentes, CTO and Data Products, TravelgateX

Delivering low latency to customers worldwide

Thanks to the reliability of its multi-cloud infrastructure, TravelgateX writes 99.999 percent availability into all of its service-level agreements. "We've solved the challenges of concurrency, scalability, and stability," says Oscar. "And since we implemented the multi-cloud architecture, we've gone from 2 to 250 customers. Previously, that growth would have been impossible."

As TravelgateX expands its customer base and product range, the team works closely with partners on everything from cost efficiencies to creative projects. "We have a great relationship with the team at Bluekiri, which advises us on how to optimize costs in our use of cloud, and keeps us up-to-date with new products and features," says Oscar. "In the same way, our relationship with Google Cloud has been amazing from the beginning, with regular and reliable contact over six years. The passion and engagement is incredible."

Looking ahead, TravelgateX is exploring more markets beyond its European base, making the most of Kubernetes and cloud infrastructure to expand at speed.

"We want to be close to buyers and sellers all around the world, so they can enjoy the lowest latency and fastest service," says Oscar. "When Google Cloud opens a new data center on its global network, we deploy to that region. With Kubernetes, we can do it in less than a day."

About TravelgateX

The TravelgateX API connects customers in the online travel marketplace with more than 600 sellers worldwide, facilitating more than 2 billion searches and 20,000 bookings every day.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Spain

About Bluekiri

With offices in Spain and Uruguay, Bluekiri helps organizations of all kinds to design, deploy, and manage cloud architecture.