Formed in 1990, WORLDSPAN is a global communications and electronic distribution vehicle for more than 400 travel service providers throughout the world. Participating travel associates include airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, rail services tour operators entertainment and theater ticket services, insurance providers and numerous other vendors of travel-related products and services. WORLDSPAN provides this global database of information, advanced reservations capabilities, and a broad selection of distributed travel automation products to more than 12,000 travel agency subscribes in more than 30 countries. WORLDSPAN also provides data processing and network communication services for Northwest, TWA, Abacus (the Asia/Pacific CRS), and a number of smaller airlines. These transaction processing tasks are performed in WORLDSPAN's new data center located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Construction of the data center was completed in August, 1992. It is a union of technology and structural efficiency, constructed to withstand disasters and to be self-sufficient in the event of power interruptions. Construction specifics include:

Computer equipment installed at the data center includes:

The backbone operating system is TPF. To effectively and timely process all transactions requires a CPU complex of multiple TPF application processors managed by a TPF front end system. Data Network operations are conducted using a wide variety of traditional and more current technology communication protocols via 3745s and STRATUS communication front end system. Some special access services are provided via proprietary DEC and Tandem systems. All these components comprise a processing complex capable of 1,500 transactions per second - the majority of which are completed with one second.

VM and MVS operating systems are also important components required to complete all processing requirements. They handle E-Mail, business systems, data network management functions and the preparation of flight schedules and itinerary/ticket pricing for use within the TPF system. These systems also provide extensive capability to support programmer development, testing and a detailed customer acceptance process.

WORLDSPAN Applications Development is supported both within Kansas City and Atlanta development centers. There is a constant and consistent process to upgrade functionality and services used by our travel agents, travel service providers and airlines. A strict Change Management and Scheduling process assures appropriate levels of quality and reliability prior to introducing change to our production systems.

Because so many customers depend on our consistent and reliable services, extensive back-up systems are in place, with no one part entirely dependent on another. Hardware, software and facility systems have built in redundancies -- immediately available should any single part fail. In fact, if the world should come to an end, systems within the WORLDSPAN data center could continue operating seven days later. Back-up systems include:

The elaborate support and backup systems fall in line with WORLDSPAN's goal to be the preferred source of information and transaction processing services worldwide, committed to customer satisfaction and value for its stakeholders. "Our mission," said Skip Powell, the data center's director, " is to run the data center processing systems without customer interruption."