Sabre describes itself as the technology at the center of travel. And no wonder: Every minute, it processes an average of 132,000 flight searches that result in ticket sales of $428,000. When its applications don’t work right, travel companies lose money and customers take notice.
So when the company decided their DevOps process needed a makeover, it was critical to make sure there were no glitches. “We have 2,000 applications on plan to move, so we need to be able to scale the solutions and make sure they’re reliable,” David Browne, Sabre’s senior principal enterprise architect, told a breakout session at the Knowledge 2019 conference in Las Vegas.
Sabre chose ServiceNow’s DevOps tool, built on the company’s Now Platform, to automate the process of managing and developing software applications. “We want to be able to fully enable deployments from development all the way to production in an automated way,” Browne said.
Sabre’s existing systems for development and deployment (the Dev and the Ops) had too many manual processes, and the fact that they sat on a variety of development platforms was hindering the team’s ability to quickly turn out new applications.
The ServiceNow tool offered Sabre developers several advantages. One happy surprise was that the tool comes with a built-in catalog of REST APIs. REST (which stands for representational state transfer) is designed specifically for web applications and provides broad interoperability across platforms.
Because the ServiceNow platform integrates so well with other software, Sabre could allow developers to continue to write code using whatever platform they preferred. In fact, developers retained almost all of their standard processes; the only change was that they were now defined within a ServiceNow workflow. Orchestration of the development process—the testing, certification and deployment of apps—all could take place in ServiceNow.
Since switching over, Sabre developers have been deploying two applications a week. Removing the hindrances caused by manual processes means deployment now takes an average of 10 minutes.
Thanks to automation, developers also have more time for developing, Browne said. Over the past 10 months, developers have managed about 10,000 application changes. Scalability of the ServiceNow platform has allowed app development to happen more smoothly and quicker, and developers have greater insight into their workflow.
Once they saw they can get information on where their deployments are,” Browne said, “they started creating their own dashboards to track progress.”