By woodjr on Feb 07, 2007
What if you could get a hotel room cheaper by waiting to book it? That simple question led to the creation of Wotif.com. As a date draws near, hotels will often lower the rates for their unbooked rooms rather than have them sit empty. Wotif.com allows consumers to take advantage of this by offering the best "last minute" deals from hotels in 35 countries. Here, last minute means bookings no more than 28 days in advance (which allows them to get the best rates from hotels while still allowing consumers some planning time).
So a great question led to a great idea and a great service, right? Yes, but that isn't the end of the story. True to their name (a quirky spelling of "what if"), the company kept asking questions and seeking answers. For example, the technical team became unsatisfied with the lack of new development and features in the application server that the site had been using. So they asked: what if we switched to "get on a supported and current platform with a future" and "take advantage of new features in the Java EE 5 specification and things built on top of it"? Great question. And after evaluating a few options, they found a great answer: GlassFish.
Once their evaluations were done, it took "a team of 6 about a month" to port the Wotif.com site over to Sun Java System Application Server 9.0, UR1 (Sun's supported distribution of GlassFish v1). In addition to the GlassFish base, they leverage other open source software including Hibernate, Struts, Spring, and ehcache (a distributed caching mechanism). The results are now live in production (running on multiple Sun Fire V40z servers).
Any way you look at it, the Wotif.com site and its volume are impressive. Want concurrent traffic? Their production servers "support around 10,000 concurrent sessions." How about monthly stats? The site averages "almost one million users, who make over 110,000 bookings" each month. Wow. That makes for a lot of happy hotel guests.
Congratulations to everyone at Wotif.com for all of this success! And thank you for allowing Sun and GlassFish to be a part of it.
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