DFW: Transforming travel with the power of data

12,000

mappings moved to cloud acquaintance

90%

of mappings auto converted

Adopted

mass ingestion and CDC tools

Stat Image

DFW moved 12,000 mappings to the cloud to become a data-driven organization with Informatica and Snowflake. DFW dramatically improved data quality and data governance across the enterprise.

DFW

“Data-driven decision-making is foundational to every business unit at DFW and modernizing our approach is a top priority for our organization. To efficiently manage the enormous volume and variety of data we ingest, we moved our data transformation environment to the cloud.”

Kelly Tuggle

Assistant Vice President of Application, Development and Delivery
Embarking on a Cloud Modernization journey

Embarking on a data-driven journey

It’s no small task managing IT data engineering for the third busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic and the third largest by aircraft movements. Just ask Kelly Tuggle, Assistant Vice President of Application Development and Delivery at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

“If you think of DFW as a city, we’re bigger than the island of Manhattan,” she says. “My team’s job is to develop and ensure the performance of all the data streams used for enterprise analytics across the airport landscape.”

With over 80 million passengers passing through the airport in the last year alone, DFW relies increasingly on modern technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) sensors to elevate the travel experience. DFW modernized its data environment to power these innovations as part of its strategic plan to transform travel and become a data-driven organization by the end of 2024.

Coined “Data 360,” this data transformation journey is an enterprise-wide focus for DFW. “Data-driven decision-making is foundational to every business unit at DFW and modernizing on-premises data to the cloud is a top priority for our organization,” says Tuggle. “The most efficient way to manage and load this amount of data optimally was to move this on-premises data environment to the cloud.”

“From flight timetables and gate changes to the smart sensors in our parking lots, restrooms and boarding bridges, the speed with which we can understand, transform and draw insight from our data is directly linked to the quality of our enterprise analytics experience. With our on-premises data integration system maxed out, a cloud-based approach to data integrations was the clear way forward.”

Ranjith Srinivas

Senior Manager for Data Services

Transforming travel with cloud-native data management

DFW previously used an on-premises integration tool, Informatica PowerCenter, to ingest and process its enterprise data to generate business reports and insights. This approach served them well for years, but with the growth of data volume and variety — and with the advent of cloud technologies — this data management approach was limited, creating data siloes among its countless data streams and systems generated over the years. As the organization added new applications and data sources to its environment, it was challenged to maintain the speed and performance needed to optimize service delivery to passengers.

Even simple extract, transform and load (ETL) processes could take up to three or four hours to run — usually overnight to avoid disrupting operations. Manual data processing was time-consuming and no longer sustainable in the age of digital airport services and sensor-based technologies that needed real-time data access and processing.

Centralizing data services built to scale

“From flight timetables and gate changes to the smart sensors in our parking lots, restrooms and boarding bridges, the speed with which we can ingest, transform and draw insights from our real-time data is directly linked to the quality of our passenger experience,” says Ranjith Srinivas, Senior Manager for Data Services. “With our on-premises systems maxed out, a cloud-native approach to data management was the clear way forward.”

With help from its integration partner, NorthCap Consulting, DFW moved its data environment from PowerCenter to the AI-powered Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) platform. In addition, DFW adopted Snowflake as its cloud data warehouse to enhance its business intelligence, providing a tightly integrated solution with a modern data infrastructure that underpins the airport’s operations.

“Speed is of the essence to our end users, especially as we look to automate more IT processes and make our teams more efficient,” says Srinivas. “The data velocity we get with cloud-native data management is faster than anything we could achieve on-premises.”

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Moving on-premises data to the cloud with ease

The simplicity of modernizing Informatica PowerCenter to cloud was a significant decision factor for DFW. Its data integration team moved more than 12,000 assets, mappings and workflows from its on-premises PowerCenter environment to the cloud and was able to successfully automate more than 90% of mappings to IDMC. This accelerated DFW’s data-driven transformation while reducing the cost and risk associated with large-scale cloud modernization initiatives.

“The fact that we didn’t have to rewrite or rework thousands of PowerCenter mappings while moving workloads to IDMC was a huge win,” says Data Integration Team Lead, Tommy Hoang. “This accelerated our migration project completion timeline significantly.”

Equally valuable to DFW was the seamless integration between Informatica and Snowflake.

The close relationship also simplified troubleshooting for DFW’s data integration team. DFW was able to connect the support teams, who worked to solve any minor implementation issues and ensure the modernization project continued successfully and on schedule.

“Informatica and Snowflake joined forces to support us throughout our modernization journey and we continue to benefit from their unified support,” says Hoang.

On the fast-track to innovation

Moving to Informatica IDMC has helped to accelerate mission-critical projects. For instance, the mass ingestion microservice in IDMC allows DFW to perform change data capture (CDC), a new capability for the organization. The ability to move and process data in near real time helped the business fast-track several data acquisition projects from months to a few weeks. Looking ahead, DFW will implement additional IDMC services within their enterprise architecture including data quality, data catalog and cloud data governance.

“With our new cloud environment, we have the pillars in place to explore the full potential of enterprise data analytics,” says Tuggle. “Together with our technology partners, we are transforming how we run our business and serve the millions of passengers that travel through Dallas Fort Worth each year.”

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Inside the solution

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