Published
July 6, 2017
Author
Ram Hariharan
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Time To Read
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Turbocharging Machine Learning

By Ram Hariharan in Big Data, Cloud on July 6, 2017 | Responses (0)

The Challenge – How can we scale bidding? Expedia attracts customers through meta search sites like Trivago, Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor, and Kayak. As you might guess, Meta sites are very competitive marketplaces. This comes as no surprise – the Winner spot gets 80% of the clicks and traffic drops off exponentially from there. To compete effectively good prices and an optimal bid are both important – the meta site uses a proprietary algorithm that involves the hotel’s price and associated bid to choose a hotel offer for the winner spot. We have to be smart about our bids for each of…

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Published
May 19, 2017
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Cloud and Finance – Lessons learned

This is a joint post with Abiade Adedoyin. Here at Expedia, we’re undergoing a strategic migration to the cloud. Like most others, we too first struggled to understand and manage our cloud spend. Over the past eight months, we learned some lessons and adopted certain practices to manage our cloud spend more predictably and efficiently than before. Here are the results of our practices: We increased the proportion of reserved instances (RIs) from under 40% to about 65% to 70%. See the “Compute Usage Hours” chart below. Our overall savings…

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Published
May 18, 2017
Author
Scott Weber @ScottDWeber
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Learnings from Two Years of Kotlin

By Scott Weber @ScottDWeber in Mobile Development on May 18, 2017 | Responses (2)

In case you missed it, Expedia got a call out in Google’s Developer Keynote at Google I/O yesterday as well as on the Android Developers blog. Google announced that Kotlin is now ready, mature, and fully supported as a first-class language for Android development, highlighting four major applications (including ours) already heavily invested in the new language. The Expedia brand Android native app team has been using Kotlin in production for a couple of years, making Expedia one of the earlier adopters of Kotlin for Android development. Recently Kotlin has become all the rage…

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Published
February 16, 2017
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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Fault Domains and the Vegas Rule

By in General on February 16, 2017 | Responses (1)

Our teams at Expedia are active public cloud users. We use a simple design principle called the “Vegas Rule”, and a complimentary concept called “fault domain” to make resiliency-related decisions. Fault Domain A fault domain is a coarse-grained enclosure of apps, data and all the dependent infrastructure. Below is an example. The outer circle represents a fault domain. The primary property of a fault domain is that any fault inside the fault domain does not cascade outside. Any external dependency is soft, and the the services in the fault domain…

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Published
February 13, 2017
Author
Joan Gamell Farre
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Time To Read
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Conversational Integration Tests for your Alexa Skills (Node/JS)

By Joan Gamell Farre in Testing on February 13, 2017 |

Expedia released the first version of our Alexa Skill last December at the AWS re:Invent event. Since then, a team of developers in the San Francisco and Bellevue offices have been hard at work adding features, refactoring and modernizing the code to adopt the new Amazon JS SDK. The main challenge during the refactoring was: How can we make sure we are not breaking the already existing functionality? I.e. how do we avoid introducing regressions in our code? The answer, of course, was We need some tests (yes, we did the…

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Published
December 29, 2016
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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Operationalizing Spark Streaming (Part 1)

By in Big Data, Lessons Learned on December 29, 2016 |

For those looking to run Spark Streaming in production, this two-part article contains tips and best practices collected from the front lines during a recent exercise in taking Spark Streaming to production. For my use case, Spark Streaming serves as the core processing engine for a new real time Lodging Market Intelligence system used across the Lodging Shopping stack on Expedia.com, Hotels.com and other brands. The system integrates with Kafka, S3, Aurora and Redshift and processes 500 msg/sec average with spikes up to 2000 msg/sec. The topics discussed are: Availability: Getting Spark running and…

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Published
December 11, 2016
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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Cloud Lock-In and Change Agility

By in Cloud, Culture on December 11, 2016 | Responses (1)

TL;DR Don’t Focus on Lock-In Insulation — Focus on Change Agility We are entering into a future of lock-in. Public clouds are no longer someone else’s computers or hosted services. These are fast becoming proprietary platforms with a bit of open source sprinkled in here and there. Almost everything you need to run an enterprise is now available as a pay-as-you-go platform on AWS, and Azure and GCP are not staying put. As difficult as it may be to swallow and accept this trend, it is important recognize that, anything that needs…

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Published
December 6, 2016
Author
Kuldeep Chowhan (@this_is_kuldeep)
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Inside Scoop on Primer, Expedia’s Internal Cloud Deployment Tool

By Kuldeep Chowhan (@this_is_kuldeep) in Cloud, Devops on December 6, 2016 |

In early 2013, Expedia decided it was time to more heartily explore cloud solutions. At the time, the company’s web services structure was a monolith. The team was nearing the end of a major platform overhaul, changing the way the entire core of Expedia operated. The cloud was becoming too interesting a tool to ignore. But how does a company move a proverbial rock uphill? A small group of us came together to look at moving a microservice to the cloud. We focused on an application within the shopping path — starting…

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Published
December 1, 2016
Author
Rob Meyer (@robfromca)
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Lessons Learned from Shipping an Alexa Skill in ~60 Days

By Rob Meyer (@robfromca) in Lessons Learned on December 1, 2016 |

On November 30th Expedia launched our first skill for Alexa, representing another foray for us into world of voice interfaces. In this posting we’ll share a few thoughts about how we put this skill together and some tips and tricks about working with voice user interfaces. Where We Started Around the middle of August serious conversations began regarding an opportunity to build an Alexa skill. If we were going to do it, we wanted to have it ready by Christmas. Because the deadline was tight and voice user interface is a new space, we…

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Published
November 21, 2016
Author
Vithun Gajendra
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Time To Read
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Gamifying Continuous Integration

By Vithun Gajendra in Cloud, Culture on November 21, 2016 |

For the last couple of years we’ve been moving applications from our data centers into the cloud. One of the advantages of moving to the cloud was that we could host our applications in different geographical regions bringing them closer to the user. Also each team working on an application gets the chance to easily have their app hosted on multiple environments (test/stress/integration/production). Having multiple versions of an application running at the same time across multiple regions and environments brought its own challenge of visibility. It was not straight-forward to know what’s running where…

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