News Release

Flight Centre Deploys Cisco Storage Area Networking, Wireless and Security Solution to Manage Surging Information Growth

Cisco solution helps to consolidate storage network and improve efficiency through Internet-based communications across five countries
May 21, 2004

BRISBANE, Australia - 21st May, 2004 - Flight Centre, a leading Australian travel agency, has deployed Cisco Systems® networking infrastructure to expand its network capacity and more efficiently manage information growth.

The network will help Flight Centre consolidate data management and increase efficiency through the deployment of a storage area network (SAN), wireless local-area network (WLAN) and network security solution.

Flight Centre is one of the most successful travel agencies in the world, having grown by 20 percent annually over the past five years to record total transaction value of $1.4 billion in 2002-03. Flight Centre manages an increasing amount of Internet-based customer transactions, as well as the information technology (IT) needs of 800 staff in Brisbane head office and 1000 retail outlets in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa and Canada.

Geoff Tyerman, Flight Centre technical service manager, said; "The expansion of Flight Centre's business and our increasing reliance on productivity-enhancing Internet technologies meant that we needed to work with a networking partner to manage that growth. Cisco® and Hitachi Data Systems provided a storage solution that we believe will help Flight Centre to manage the growth in information."

A Cisco SAN solution has been deployed to help ensure maximum data availability and to increase capacity to provide up to 5 terabytes of data capacity. Flight Centre has deployed Cisco MDS 9509 multilayer director switches, in conjunction with Hitachi Data Systems storage arrays, in three sites across Brisbane. The SAN will allow Flight Centre to manage remote data replication for enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery, and to take advantage of the Cisco MDS 9000 Virtual SAN (VSAN) technology for greater scalability.

Flight Centre has also expanded its core Cisco network, deploying Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series switches in its main Brisbane offices. These switches are equipped with 48-port, high-density Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and the Cisco Supervisor 720 network processing engine. The network configuration will allow Flight Centre to migrate its network capacity towards 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds and centrally manage a variety of services.

To more efficiently connect the national and international Flight Centre agencies, Flight Centre has also deployed a Cisco virtual private network (VPN) solution. The VPN allows confidential information to be transmitted at high speeds in highly a secure manner through the Flight Centre intranet.

Additionally, Flight Centre has deployed a Cisco WLAN in the Brisbane Flight Centre offices, increasing workforce productivity by providing greater flexibility in communications.

Cisco Aironet® 1100 Series access points have been installed at the Flight Centre head office, providing network users with data transmission speeds up to 11 megabits per second (Mbps), as specified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.11b standard.

Through the Flight Centre VPN, the WLAN allows staff to have access, with industry-leading security, to intrernal meetings, which helps increase productivity.