Re: another failed attempt at database independence

From: Niall Litchfield <>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 20:47:37 +0100
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:21 PM, Rick Ricky <> wrote:

> 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.

doesn't tally with the figures in the google search you quoted - either for total cost or for percentage of travel going through it. eg cost < $500m and < 20% of the travel going through it.

> 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.

I expect you'll find that's hibernate...

> 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).

Well that doesn't sound like a bad tech decision, but unprofessional behaviour all round - I'd be sorely tempted to fire any of my team who laughed at their work colleagues in team meetings, for example. In fact it mostly seems to me to be a "why did you start when there are travel agents already" type question.

Niall Litchfield
Oracle DBA

Received on Wed May 07 2008 - 14:47:37 CDT

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