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Old 11th March 2008, 15:33   #31
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Originally Posted by sanjayatarizona View Post
Folks. irctc is the biggest site in the world period..

Imagine the hit rate on the site, user load as also the fact that as far as i can remember the site has never been down(communication failure not withstanding). I think this is a great feat.

Outstanding beacon of 'sarkari' efficiency
Biggest site in world... thats interesting.

It is biggest based on which measure?

Number of users / Number of transactions / Number of queries / Something else
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Old 11th March 2008, 15:37   #32
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Default Homegrown system

Around a year back, I got opportunity to travel with a fellow working with CRIS (Information Systems wing of Indian Railways). They do not use any proprietary RDBMS as there is no such database that can handle so much of load.

They are using flat files and have applied all the RDBMS concepts in their homegrown system. Reservation system was never affected because of database going down. It is the bandwidth pipe that connects various systems (railway counters, IRCTC website etc.) with their central system is the culprit. That time they were having a pipe of 2Mbps only.

Kudos to CRIS guys!
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Old 11th March 2008, 15:41   #33
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Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Biggest site in world... thats interesting.
Even i doubt that fact. Would be interesting to know the parameters on which its considered the biggest site in the world. Logic tells me it has to be highest number of transactions in shortest time period. But, we never know
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Old 11th March 2008, 15:45   #34
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Originally Posted by sanjayatarizona View Post
Folks. irctc is the biggest site in the world period..

Imagine the hit rate on the site.
I don't think this is true.
Stock Exchanges have a much bigger hit ratio.
compare the number of tickets sold on all trains in 1 day Vs the number of stocks traded for all scripts in 1 day.

Moreover on a rough average you would query the availability once before booking a train ticket, whereas you would query min 5 stocks at least 5 times before settling on buying one of them.
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Old 11th March 2008, 15:48   #35
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Use erail.in to find out train number, station code,availability, fares and other necessary info. Its pretty fast and interface is user friendly too. Use irctc just to book tickets.
Though i have had my share of communication failures while planning my travel, overall experience till date has been good.
Regards
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Old 11th March 2008, 16:08   #36
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i am a regular user of this facility. Overall, it solves a big issue - Standing in Queue, trying to talk with those "friendly" guys on the other side of counter, "No change" issues etc etc...

Only thing is,
If I book my tickets leisurely it works like anything. If i desperately want a ticket to be booked, then it shows all sort of faces like communication error, gateway error...

But frankly, its really good. Even when we have error in booking tickets, the returns are prompt.

One more thing is, tickets booked through this should have to be canceled ONLY through this same site. This has costed me sometimes when I was outside and wanted to cancel my return for some reasons.
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Old 11th March 2008, 16:15   #37
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Originally Posted by swageo View Post
Lot of seats are reserved/blocked for "Emergency Quota", which historically are for private secretary of local politicians. They sell it on peak seasons. Goto 2nd AC, you see lot of Railway Employees "happily" travelling without any tickets. People like us who paid the money must on upper birth
Dude, one can't travel without a confirmed ticket in 2nd AC. All those railway employees you see there have valid tickets with confirmed reservations, made through the same channel as you. Ofcourse they get 2 round-trip tickets free in a year but that's it.

\N
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Old 11th March 2008, 16:35   #38
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They do have a "different" channel. Railway has to allot seats to certain ppl (E.g. politicians) on priority.

Seats are alloted on their (politician's) name and they just use it. Have seen that happen many times in mumbai. AC 2 Tier seats are always at premium in holiday season and lots of times have seen them getting seats at last moment even when other systems do not show any vacancy.
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Old 11th March 2008, 16:40   #39
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GM level people in railways get an exclusive private coach (saloon) attached to the train when they travel. Like AirForceOne :-)

Computer systems only tell half the story!
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Old 11th March 2008, 16:41   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntomer View Post
Dude, one can't travel without a confirmed ticket in 2nd AC. All those railway employees you see there have valid tickets with confirmed reservations, made through the same channel as you. Ofcourse they get 2 round-trip tickets free in a year but that's it.

\N
correction..6 round trips per yr during service and 3 after retirement...free of cost!

...dont ask me how do i know that

Coming to the point, I have always booked tickets over irctc (since its inception), and have always got the ticket...without any problems....my secret is to book after 9pm. I assumed that its going to be the same database for irctc and over the counter systems, so load on the link will be less after reservation counters close down for the day.


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Old 11th March 2008, 17:05   #41
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i have booked thru irctc many a times and have never faced any problems. the e ticket option is the best but even with i ticket the delivery is made in less then 36 hours.

there are some communication errors which happen sometimes but i have seen it happen with sites like airdeccan too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amohit View Post

Coming to the point, I have always booked tickets over irctc (since its inception), and have always got the ticket...without any problems....my secret is to book after 9pm.

Regards,
but as far as i know that bookings can only be done between 8 am and 8 pm.
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Old 11th March 2008, 17:08   #42
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Now a days its quit close to 24/7, starts at 6 AM and if I am not wrong goes on till 12 in night.
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Old 11th March 2008, 17:32   #43
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Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Now a days its quit close to 24/7, starts at 6 AM and if I am not wrong goes on till 12 in night.
Its changed again..

From the website "Booking through Internet is allowed from 5 AM to 11.30 PM (Indian Standard Time) on all days including Sundays"

Regards,
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Old 11th March 2008, 17:49   #44
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Note:
Ticketing service is just a small part of IRCTC.
This article will give you an idea of exactly how big it is.


Source: Indian Railways Catering And Tourism Coorporation Opts

New Delhi, April 23, 2003: Oracle India Private Limited (Oracle India), a fully owned subsidiary of Oracle Corporation - the world's largest enterprise software company, today announced that Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has selected the Oracle E-Business Suite to automate and streamline all its processes. The project, which will be implemented by Tata Consultancy Services - an Oracle Certified Advantage Partner with the Oracle PartnerNetwork, will run on the Linux platform.
"The Oracle E-Business Suite on Linux gives us the power to control and run our country-wide operations in a cost-effective manner. With Oracle E-Business Suite, which is fully integrated, we also saved the cost of integration," said Mr. S.K. Kaushik, Director - Finance, IRCTC.
"We are on the verge of a major expansion. We needed an efficient and robust system, which is also scalable. The Oracle E-Business Suite will meet all our requirements," said Mr. Amitabh Pandey, group general manager IT Services, IRCTC.
This implementation will help IRCTC streamline business processes and information flow across its country-wide operation. IRCTC will soon scale up to a 7000-employee, catering and tourism operation spread over 1000 locations across India. IRCTC's operations include food courts at railway stations, in-train catering, refreshment rooms, special catering and hospitality services for Indian Railway. As a result, IRCTC has to deal with multi-faceted operational challenges such as quality assurance, the logistics associated with the management of existing food chains and catering vendors, cash flow monitoring, as well as the management of costs and human resources.

"Our employees and our customers are key to our operations and we require the best processes to ensure effective functioning of our company. The Oracle E-Business Suite can help us do that," added Mr. Pandey.
Mr. Shekhar Dasgupta, managing director, Oracle India said, "We are delighted to contribute to the e-readiness of IRCTC and help them meet their goals of improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs. It is particularly exciting that IRCTC will run the Oracle E-Business Suite on Linux as this will enable IRCTC to realize additional cost savings and benefit from greater efficiency. Linux provides a very reliable, mature and low-cost platform for the Oracle applications that will support IRCTC's business operations."

ABOUT IRCTC
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) is a public sector company (Rs. 300 crore, FY02) set up and fully owned by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. This company has been formed to function as an extended arm of the Indian Railway to upgrade, professionalize and manage the catering and hospitality services at railway stations and within trains IRCTC's mandate also includes promoting domestic and international tourism through development of budget hotels, special tour packages, information & commercial publicity and global reservation systems. Indian Railway's hospitality and catering services serves 13 million passengers everyday and generates a total business of over Rs 6000 crore (USD 1.2 Bn).

ABOUT ORACLE INDIA
Oracle India Private Ltd., a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation, the largest provider of software for eBusiness has its head office in New Delhi. It markets the complete range of Oracle products and services through its offices in Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi and also through its partners in India under the Oracle PartnerNetwork. Oracle India's National Support Center at Bangalore, a part of Oracle's worldwide support network, provides world-class technical support to all its customers in India under the Technical Support Services program. Oracle's India Development Centers are based in Hyderabad and Bangalore and are part of Oracle Corporation's world-class product development facility. Oracle School of Advanced Technology is also a part of the IIIT Centre at Hyderabad.

ABOUT ORACLE
Oracle is the world's largest enterprise software company. For more information about Oracle visit our website at

Trademarks
Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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Old 11th March 2008, 17:50   #45
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Article #2
Source: IRCTC opens up a new train of thought - Cover Story - Network Magazine India
IRCTC opens up a new train of thought
While IRCTC's Web site may not win any 'Best Web site of the Year' award, it has made life simpler for millions of passengers. We trace its history, the problems the organisation overcame, and both present and future strategies that will take IRCTC to new heights
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) reservation site allows passengers to buy tickets, pay using credit/debit cards, check train fares, routes & availability in real-time, and receive alerts about rail schedules. In addition, passengers can subscribe to an alert service that advises them about the reservation status at fixed intervals. Passengers can also track their tickets from the time of booking until third-party courier services make the delivery.
Also as per the Shubh Yatra Programme for sequel travellers, benefits are available only on railway tickets booked at IRCTC Online Passenger Reservation Site.. Railway Points can be earned on 1st Class AC, 2nd Class AC, Executive Chair Car and AC Chair Car travel only. Railway Points are not earned on AC III Tier tickets.
With the introduction of e-ticketing, booking tickets is no longer about standing in the queue. Just get a print out and you can use it for travel. The e-ticketing was started for all long distance trains from February 2006.
IRCTC now handles bookings for more than 8,500 passenger trains (out of about 14,500 trains) operating daily on the Indian railway network, which is the second largest after Russia’s. The tickets are delivered to any place specified by the user once the payment gateway authorises a transaction
At present, one third of the tickets sold on the Web site are through e-ticketing. On the 11th of April, a record was created in the history of Indian Railways when a total of 18,748 tickets were sold of which 5,800 were through e-ticketing.
IRCTC now handles bookings for more than 8,500 passenger trains (out of about 14,500 trains) operating daily on the Indian railway network, which is the second largest after Russia’s. The tickets are delivered to any place specified by the user once the payment gateway authorises a transaction. This facility is now spread across more than 83 locations all over India, and more locations are being added. NRIs and foreign travellers can benefit too. Says Amitabh Pandey, Group General Manager, IT Services, IRCTC, “We have even made an option available for foreign travellers.”
IRCTC’s success is enviable, not only because of the fact that it is a government-owned organisation, but also due to the size and complexity of the Indian railway system. The Indian Railways system books about 5.5 lakh tickets a day. IRCTC sold about 2,573,612 tickets in 2005-2006, i.e an average of 7,050 tickets per day.
Many Ways to Pay
With electronic payment numbers still quite low in the whole Indian payments scenario, and credit cards still finding their way into Indian wallets, does IRCTC have any other mode of payment in mind? Explains Pandey, “We are aware of the low credit card penetration and poor online payment scenario in India. The other option that online retailers follow is the Cash-On-Delivery (COD) model, where the end-user pays cash after the product is delivered.”
However, since the IRCTC system is connected to the Indian Railways reservation system and there are many other factors that come into play while booking a ticket online, the COD model is not feasible for IRCTC even though it makes a lot of commercial sense.
For credit card payment, IRCTC has a tie-up with ICICI Bank and Citibank and American Express. One problem is that many Indians dislike the concept of credit cards since they don’t like buying goods on credit. IRCTC has realised this, and for customers who do not want to use these cards, an additional payment mode of direct debit from their accounts through online banking is now available. Now they provide direct debit through 17 banks, three payment gateways and one cash card payment option.
System Architecture
IRCTC's system runs on Intel-based servers and according to the organisation, it provides them with cost efficiency, robustness, smooth integration with legacy applications, and reliability for Web-enabling the system. The organisation also uses a combination of Intel, Red Hat and Oracle products
BroadVision Inc, a provider of enterprise business portal applications based in California, USA, runs the IRCTC site on its BroadVision e-commerce platform. The big challenge for BroadVision was integrating the legacy system with the existing reservation system, and verifying credit card information in real-time as bookings had to be confirmed on the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) of the railways immediately.
Initially, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for IRCTC. Pandey comments, “Firstly, the PRS had to handle about six lakh reservations per day. Internet connectivity at that time was poor, and pages took a lot of time to load. Further, sometimes customers used to book a ticket multiple times since they kept clicking repeatedly.”
IRCTC had initially expected 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 hits and enquiries based on the numbers witnessed by online shopping sites. Instead, they were confronted with over 1.3 million enquiries daily, besides over 2,000 actual bookings. This resulted in terrible traffic jams, following which their payment gateways also went down. ICICI Bank and Citibank (their payment gateways) were therefore asked to upgrade their services. Also, there were issues related to failed transactions, which cost the organisation about 20 percent of the overall transactions. Besides, they had to deploy extra people whose primary job was to refund money for failed transactions.
IRCTC’s system runs on Intel-based servers and according to the organisation, it provides them with cost efficiency, robustness, smooth integration with legacy applications, and reliability for Web-enabling the system. The organisation also uses a combination of Intel, Red Hat and Oracle products.
“The IRCTC site is secure, and stealing credit card details is not possible since we use 128-bit encryption. Further, we don’t store credit card details in our system,” remarks Pandey.
In line with its growth strategy, IRCTC has begun to cater to the corporate sector, wherein companies can sign up on the site and book tickets for employees through a single account.
Alerts on your Mobile
Over the last year, Pandey has also introduced Web services capabilities. “This has allowed the IRCTC to perform mobile commerce (m-commerce) transactions, benefiting citizens at large.” Passengers can also subscribe to an alert service that advises them about reservation status at fixed intervals. IRCTC has tied up with popular telecom service providers such as Airtel, Hutch, Idea, MTNL, Reliance Infocomm and Tata Indicom for these services.
Concludes Pandey, “The essence of this initiative was to use simple technology without the fancy and expensive software which most vendors promise will do wonders.”
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