March 28, 2020
Alaska Airlines makes shopping easier with Azure and microservices

Alaska Airlines makes shopping easier with Azure and microservices

Alaska Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the United States [Troy Kaser]
[Managing Director of E-Commerce Alaska Airlines]
and our goal is to be the premier airline for people in the west coast. The e-commerce organization at Alaska Airlines has really two big goals. One is to continue to drive
guest satisfaction. The other big goal is for us
to be able to test and learn. We believe that any code that isn’t in production is waste. [Patrick Boudreaux]
[Software Development Management Alaska Airlines]
The shopping experience was originally a traditional web application hosted in our own data center in a collection of physical machines. Some of the challenges that presented was the maintenance of those machines, having to be involved in
the care and feeding of a computer, and the operating system,
and network updates, hardware failures. Running our applications on Azure unlocks a lot of possibilities in terms of how we’re able to deploy. It allows us to iterate more rapidly. We’re able to experiment with
a lot of different things and find what works best to serve
our guests and give them the best experience. Breaking down our systems into micro services has enabled us to start taking pieces that are good candidates
and moving them up into the Cloud. [Ralph Felts]
[Senior Software Development Engineer Alaska Airlines]
Containers give you piece of mind about how you get your code out, how stable it is once it’s out. We use Azure Service Fabric
to make sure once those containers are running that we can easily put new versions out, that they still run, and when our demands grow,
that it grows with it. We wanted to make sure that we could roll out new versions safely and if there was a problem,
that we could easily roll back. We also wanted to make sure
that if something were to go wrong, let’s say a computer were to not work that Azure Service Fabric would
save the day and restart that service. We also use Visual Studio
Team Services built pipeline to compile our code
and make sure that it’s working, run tests, and then package up
our docker images. We upload those docker images to Azure Container Registry. I think the biggest win for us recently was last Cyber Monday. It was hassle free. We could scale up and down
without any fear and we were able to have completely uninterrupted service for our guests. We grow customer loyalty
by providing an awesome
e-commerce experience. Our guests use our web site,
our kiosks, on mobile devices, and our goal is to have a simple, easy-to-use experience for those guests. We have to continually enhance and learn and then test those experiences to make sure that they are
the greatest they can be. By using Azure we’re able to get ideas out to market faster and to test and see how our guests experience them and see if they move the needle on our business objectives.

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