Monday, January 27, 2014

Case Study: Scaling Reservations for the World’s Largest Train System, China Railways Corporation

The biggest annual movement of humans on the planet happens around the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. According to China Daily, there are 34.88 million trips by air, 235 million trips by rail, and 2.85 billion road trips during the peak of China’s Spring Festival holiday period. Historically, rail travel has meant long lines and waits, and China Railways Corporation (CRC) began to sell tickets online to offer a more convenient method than purchases at stations, ticket offices, or by phone.

With increased use and access to the reservation system, the travel season placed enough pressure on China Railway Corporation’s rail reservation systems to break their legacy RDBMS, warranting a new project to improve their online performance and scalability. These holiday travel periods, like Spring Festival, pressure the system even further. During spikes, the site becomes one of the most popular websites in China. With such severe demand, people experience outages, poor performance, booking errors, payment failures, and issues with ticket confirmations.

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