Notes from Michael Benzinger's "MySQL at Sabre" talk at the 2004 MySQL Users Conference.

Sabre had been the reservation system for American Airlines. They're also the backend for Travelocity as well.

Cost was the primary motivation for moving to MySQL.

Session, shop, price, sell, fulfill is the model they follow. Finding best fares is apparent a very hard problem. Lots of interesting algorithms to find the best paths and lowest costs. They price roughly 250 tickets per second.

Shopping finds the low fares. Shopping scales horizontally quite well. Pricing is used to print the ticket. Pricing used to be done on mainframes. Many companies still use them, but Sabre doesn't anymore. They run Linux on HP/Intel boxes now. They started with HP's PA-RISC running HP/UX but HP/UX didn't run on Intanium yet. Now they have 45 4 CPU Linux boxes. 1.5GHz, 6MB, 32GB RAM for shopping servers.

They also use GodenGate's Extractor/Replicator. InnoDB, 50-60GB of data, real-time updates, MySQL 4.0.15.

Interesting architecture diagram that I can't easily replicate here.

Development costs are way down (50%). Run-time and operational costs are significantly lower now too. They wrote their own API wrapper in C++ and have a pre-compiler used to convert the SQL for the MySQL API.

In addition to shopping, they use MySQL elsewhere too. uses it. They're working on data mining and setting up a cheap data mart.

Posted by jzawodn at April 14, 2004 06:51 AM

Reader Comments
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

It'll be interesting to see if they pickup on Dell's 7250's coming out in the fall. Fantastic boxes, the speed and stability we saw out of these 4-ways was phenomenal.

on April 14, 2004 08:00 AM
# Jeremy T said:

I laugh at those people ben.

With 360 tables spread across 8 databases, we have about 80GB worth of "database", one table about to hit 15GB and plenty of tables with 1M+ rows. 1.5M transactions per day is common. No performance problems, no data issues. It just works. I love MySQL.

Oh yeah, I bought the book...

on October 20, 2004 09:07 PM
# K Patel said:

I am Software Engineer and Travel Agent. I am working to build application which communicate to mySabre API but I am not finding better support contact which can put me directly to programmers team. Any Idea or resource?

I tried their Test tools which is listed on their website plus some documentation but main problem is making connection. it's not well documented.

Any help will be appriciated.

MudraTravels at yahoo dot com

on July 10, 2006 09:14 AM
# Michael T. Halligan said:


You might want to tell this to Jonathan Schwartz over at Sun, who doesn't believe large scale airline reservation systems can be run on MySQL & Linux:

on May 9, 2007 07:35 PM
# Another Mike said:

hmmmm ... don't understand that last comment.

on May 25, 2007 07:43 PM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.