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Lufthansa Systems NA Discovers Benefits of Data Compression with PKZIP VSE

  • November 01 2001, 1:00am EST

Lufthansa Systems North America, Inc. (Lufthansa Systems NA) is a leading provider of advanced information technology (IT) solutions for the airlines, airports, general travel and transport industry, as well as for corporate and industrial enterprises. By implementing PKZIP, Lufthansa Systems NA was able to achieve faster transfer times, move data from VSE to Windows operational environments and ensure the data received in Germany was the same data that was sent from New York.

As one of the 17 business units within the Lufthansa Systems Group GmbH, Lufthansa Systems NA has access to an extensive portfolio of high-performance IT solutions and the Group's broader resources consisting of a 4,500-member team with combined annual revenues of $540 million.

With data centers located in Germany, each branch of Lufthansa must provide information important to operations. One of the data centers in Germany was in the process of creating an application that requires the collection of data from many domestic and international sources. Some of the data sources were located at Lufthansa Systems NA in New York.

Another important consideration was the problem of multiplatforms. The data at Lufthansa Systems NA was located within a VSE environment. However, the German data center wanted to process the data within a Windows NT environment. In order to minimize transmission time and cost while being able to draw data from multiple platform environments, the German data center required all transmissions to be zipped.

The German data center was aware of PKZIP from its usage on the PC. They were also aware of PKZIP's availability on both midrange and mainframe systems. Therefore, the IS staff in Germany concluded that PKZIP was the correct solution for the situation. The German data center communicated to its information sources the need to utilize PKZIP as a pretransfer data compression utility. With the mandate from the German data center clearly indicating the need for PKZIP data compression, Lufthansa Systems NA contacted ASCENT SOLUTIONS Inc. (ASi), the developers and distributors of PKZIP data compression utilities for mainframe and midrange systems to obtain a 30-day trial copy of PKZIP VSE.

The installation process for PKZIP is designed to be simple and expedient. The project developers at Lufthansa Systems NA quickly had the program installed and operational within a preexisting FTP data transfer structure. In this capacity, PKZIP VSE acts as a pre-transfer data compression utility.

Lufthansa Systems NA's typical set of transfers includes approximately two dozen files. The files vary in size from just under 10KB to just over 236KB. The 236KB files are compressed in a few seconds to a little more than 23KB, achieving a compression ratio of 90 percent. The 90 percent savings in transmission time is well worth the investment of a few seconds zipping and unzipping.

PKZIP also provides Lufthansa the flexibility to cross platforms. During compression utilizing PKZIP, multiple files can be placed into a single ZIP archive. The ZIP file format is recognized as a standard across the IT industry and can be utilized directly within the PC, UNIX, OS/400, MVS, VM and VSE environments. Lufthansa Systems NA can compress their data within the VSE environment and transfer the file via an automated FTP process to their German data center.

The German data center is also certain the data that was sent from New York is the same data that arrives in Germany because of PKZIP's cyclic redundancy check (CRC) capability, a built in data integrity checking mechanism which verifies the accuracy of the data transfer. When PKZIP (on any platform) compresses a file, it will calculate a value based on the contents using a standard algorithm. When PKZIP extracts the file, it will calculate a CRC on the unzipped data, and then compare that CRC against the original, stored CRC. If there is any difference, PKZIP will recognize that the data has been modified or corrupted, and will report the situation.

Lufthansa Systems NA learned that data compression is a viable option as a pretransfer solution for their internal data transfers. By utilizing PKZIP, they were able to achieve an efficient data transfer process that is able to automatically and expediently transfer multiple files across platform environments while ensuring the accuracy of the data.

PKZIP VSE is part of the PKZIP family of multiplatform data compression utilities developed and distributed by ASCENT SOLUTIONS Inc. that include OS/400, MVS, VM, VSE, UNIX, OS/2, Macintosh and MS-DOS. PKZIP VSE is a dependable utility that cuts file size and transmission costs by an average of 90 percent.

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