another failed attempt at database independence

From: Rick Ricky <>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 11:21:09 -0400
Message-ID: <>

The Defense Travel System (DTS) is attempting to move to database independence. Last I read a few years ago they spent $600 million on this application up to that point. I'm sure its alot higher now. Probably close to $1 billion or more. It basically handles all of the commercial travel for the US Department of Defense (over 3 million users). They have over 2 TBs of data. They did not design for archiving so it will grow indefinitely. They are currently working on a "technical refresh" (supposedly that is their PR word for "pay us to write this piece of junk software again"). They wrote their new modules against a mySQL database using an outsourced sub-contracting company(which made money even though this failed completely. I think the company is Dovel. Not sure. Might be IDC). They wanted to prove they could make the application database independent. They used a tool called Hybernate to generate all their queries. Probably spent millions of dollars on this re-write of the code.

They deployed it to production 2 weeks ago and it was so bad that the whole system was down for 3.5 days. This means EVERY person who works for the department of defense could not book commercial travel or get reimbursed or book hotels or get reimbursed for taxis or meals, or CHANGE FLIGHTS if they were overseas for 3.5 days. They had to back out the changes. It totally failed. Now since this is a time and material contract(they make more money if they screw up), they are getting paid more money to fix it.

They do not have any code built into their application to let them detect where the performance problems may be. Its so pathetic I have been told their DBAs laugh at the rest of the team in their meetings. More of my tax money down in flames. They already paid for the oracle licenses. Migrating 2 TBs of data that is GROWING to another database is so unlikely it is laughable. Yet the DoD got sold on database independence. They are not allowed to use ANY oracle features. It would mean days of down time just to move the data to the new database and this is before even testing it. That is not going to happen. The data model has no normalization or primary keys at all (they ignore their DBAs).

btw, if you google defense travel system you will see criticisms of the project going back almost 10 years. yes its been in constant development for 10 years and its still not done.

Received on Wed May 07 2008 - 10:21:09 CDT

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