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Ensuring Behind-the-Scenes Support for a Seamless Vacation Experience

October 28, 2007

Summary

Carnival Cruise Lines used Symantec’s Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas NetBackup to support round-the-clock operations of cashless payment cards for passengers and other shipboard operations. It also used Symantec i³ technology to streamline development of its new e-commerce Web site.

Better data access on ship and shore

Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) is the world’s largest, most popular, and most profitable cruise line. With 22 “Fun Ships” sailing, the company is expected to carry a record 3.6 million guests in 2007.
A large part of Carnival’s appeal is a seamless customer experience, from shopping for and booking cruises, to enjoying a wide variety of dining and entertainment options, both onboard and onshore. To support the high level of service customers expect, today’s cruise ships utilize sophisticated IT systems to support back-office operations such as payments, housekeeping, and replenishing supplies. Even though these systems are normally invisible to passengers, they must be accessible 24x7.
Carnival faced two main technology challenges. First, it wanted to ensure availability of its Shipboard Property Management System (SPMS), which lets passengers use a special “smart card” onboard instead of cash to buy items such as drinks, clothes, spa treatments and excursions. The smart card charges are then consolidated into a single invoice at the cruise’s end. SPMS downtime would interfere with passengers’ convenience and also cut into revenue.
Doug Eney, vice president of information systems engineering at CCL, and John Masseria, manager of IT engineering, led the initiative. With help from Symantec Consulting Services, they standardized Carnival’s patchwork of shipboard servers, tape libraries and data centers into a seamless solution that includes Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas NetBackup software. And when developers of Carnival’s next-generation Web site had trouble raising user load levels and swift page response times, they turned to Symantec for an application performance management solution based on Symantec i³ software. With support from a Symantec systems engineer, CCL configured a solution that identified and isolated the causes of performance problems and bottlenecks.

Efficiencies yield millions in business value

Carnival is now assured of round-the-clock availability for its shipboard smart card and other back-office systems that is able to manage over 74 terabytes of data, more than a seven-fold increase from 2002. Because of more efficient development with the Symantec i³ software, the company was also able to offer additional new Web site features, such as Click-to-Call, which lets online shoppers chat with personal vacation planners at Carnival to find their ideal cruise.
The Alchemy Solutions Group, using its Total Operational & Economic Impact (TOEI) methodology, identified total business value savings of nearly $4.4 million a year, a one-time savings of $130,540, and millions of dollars in averted revenue losses and future growth, thanks to improvements in the following areas:
  • Data center uptime now over 99.999 percent
  • Operational efficiency and scalability, due to backup standardization
  • IT staff productivity
  • Revenue loss avoidance through new e-commerce features and higher customer satisfaction
"One of our main requirements was the ability to perform backups shore-side and shipboard using the same tool and process. Veritas NetBackup and Storage Foundation provide that capability," Masseria says. Further, he adds: "The Symantec account team and, in particular, the systems engineer really came through for us. His skillful use of the Symantec i³ tool allowed us to accomplish in a week what the [Web development] team had been unable to do in a month."
For more detail on the business value Carnival Cruise Lines is realizing, access the Business Value Analysis by The Alchemy Solutions Group.

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