A modernization journey with zero downtime
Carey International, Inc. + IBM
Usher opening the rear door of a car at an evening event
Legacy limitations and the need for change

Carey International, Inc.—a storied name in the premium ground transportation industry—has been redefining luxury travel since the 1920s. Its sprawling operation comprise a robust network of subsidiary, franchise and affiliate partners across 400 cities worldwide. With a staggering record of 550 thousand trips in 69 countries in 2022, its centralized reservation, billing, customer service and event management systems represent a complex backbone of operations that demands relentless uptime and security. However, dated legacy systems faced modern pressures, prompting Carey to embark on a transformative journey of application modernization.

Navigating a veritable minefield of operational challenges, Carey's legacy systems—sprawling across a mix of traditional platforms including IBM® WebSphere® Application Server Network Deployment, Red Hat® JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform and Oracle databases—began to strain under customer demands for enhanced security, the need for high-availability services, and rising costs—all exacerbated by the specialized skills required to maintain these aging technologies. The tipping point came with the realization that its systems could not keep up with a swiftly changing digital landscape without significant operational risk and unforeseen expenses.

Adopting cloud fluency with IBM WebSphere Liberty

Carey's strategic move to cloud architecture, specifically Red Hat OpenShift® in AWS (ROSA), marked a paradigm shift towards agility and scalability. By transitioning its Java® applications to the IBM WebSphere Liberty container platform, Carey embraced a seamless, efficient system capable of meeting the needs of an operation that never sleeps. Alongside, Oracle databases moved to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and APIs were elegantly managed, demonstrating how modern containerization and cloud-native services could refurbish even the most deeply rooted systems.

The introduction of IBM Instana® to Carey's tech stack was pivotal. Legacy applications became transparent under the IBM technology’s fully-automated real-time observability platform. Instana provided Carey with the X-ray vision to pinpoint performance bottlenecks, resource anomalies and operational issues in real-time, ushering in a new era of reliability and proactive maintenance.

The final leap into modernized operations was a meticulously planned cutover—a testament to Carey's all-in commitment to modernization. With thorough documentation and practice runs, the team executed a smooth transition. Carey has experienced nearly zero unplanned or planned downtime since the migration. Performance and reliability numbers have met and often exceeded those for the on-premise system.

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The measure of success in a modernized infrastructure

In the wake of these sweeping changes, Carey now boasts an architecture that not only competes with but surpasses the on-premise performance metrics of yore. Zero downtime has become the new standard, and the nimble, rolling release process signifies a newfound operational agility. As Carey continues to fine-tune its system and explore further cost optimizations with Red Hat and AWS, the narrative is clear: application modernization elevates service capabilities, bolsters security and ensures a company's relevance in today's dynamic tech environment.

Carey's journey to application modernization with WebSphere Liberty and Instana is more than a case study of technological upgrade—it is a celebration of timely transformation, matching the pace of an ever-evolving industry while laying a sturdy, future-proof foundation for the legacy of luxury travel.

IBM, Red Hat and AWS were a great team and provided hands on assistance to ensure project success. IBM Instana was key to quickly identifying problems and their root causes as well as critical to monitoring Red Hat OpenShift during load testing, go-live and in production. All applications were migrated in May 2023 during a six-hour outage window. To date, performance and reliability exceed the on-premise system. Releases into the cloud platform are simple, fast and non-disruptive. Development pipeline processes are also greatly streamlined.

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About Carey International, Inc.

Carey (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a trusted leader in innovative ground transportation solutions—delivering unparalleled safety, reliability and general peace of mind to the world's most discerning travelers since 1921.

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Client examples are presented as illustrations of how those clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual performance, cost, savings or other results in other operating environments may vary.