Sabre opts for open strategy

Cost-effectiveness and flexibility are reasons why it makes sense to adopt open standards and systems, says a senior Sabre executive.
Written by Lynn Tan @ Redhat, Contributor

Cost-effectiveness, flexibility and extensibility are the three considerations for choosing an "open" development strategy, according to an executive from airline software maker Sabre Airline Solutions.

David Endicott, senior vice president of software development at Sabre Airline Solutions, told ZDNet Asia at a media briefing held here today that a majority of the company's 104 products are based on open systems and standards, as well as open source.

Explaining the company's direction, Endicott said: "I think it's because of flexibility. We want to create cost effective, flexible, extensible applications for airlines, and we're able to do that with open systems utilizing open standards.

"We have older products that are based on TPF (Transaction Processing Facility) for instance, but everything that we are doing that is new are all based on open systems," he added. TPF is a mainframe-based programming language.

"A lot of airline systems utilize TPF, especially if they are transactional in nature, [and] typically, most reservation systems have some element of a TPF-based engine behind them," Endicott said.

According to the Sabre executive, a typical system that's built around TFP is "very monolithic" and "not componentized", which means it is reliable and scalable but not very flexible or extensive.

Endicott said the software maker is "componentizing" its older systems. "We've been taking major functions out of those legacy systems and moving them into open systems," he said.

On whether the complete phasing out of TPF systems is expected in 10 years' time, Endicott said it will happen "sooner than that".

"We kind of go through a balancing act with our tech, so the balancing act that we have is that we have to provide systems that are reliable, cost-effective and scalable," he said. "Generally to have something that is reliable, has scalability, you're going to use something that's tried and true."

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