Technology is not just equipment. Its how
you use the equipment and how you adapt
it to the environment. And thats where I
believe our partnership with HP is so strong,
because HP has that attitude and it really fits
well with AccuWeathers culture.
Kathleen Fiore, Vice President and CIO,
AccuWeather, Inc. relies on HP technology to save
lives, protect property and help people prosper
The most trusted name in weather
Today, the weather forecast is arguably one of the most
sought-after news items throughout the world. Businesses,
governments and individuals all rely on weather
forecasting to build markets, protect lives and property,
and plan daily activities.
No other endeavor impacts as many daily lives as
weather and the accurate forecasting of it, says
Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, CEO and President of
AccuWeather, Inc. For over 41 years, we at AccuWeather
have been committed to developing the technology and
expertise that enable us to understand the causes and
accurately forecast weather events. By making our
forecasts available through every possible media, we
enrich the lives of consumers, add to the wealth of the
economy, help to protect property, and even save lives.
To accomplish this impressive mission, AccuWeather relies
on innovative technology solutions from HP.
Dubbed by The New York Times as the most accurate
man in weather, Myers is the pioneer who transformed
weather forecasting into an industry. As a graduate
student of meteorology at Penn State University in 1962,
Myers received his first consulting assignment, which was
to provide weather forecasting information to a
Pennsylvania utility company. Thus began the fulfillment
of a dream he had held since he was 11 years old: to
help industry and consumers by providing weather
forecasts and information of value through his own
Since that time, Myers has built the worlds best-known
commercial weather service. AccuWeather employs more
than 325 professionals, including 86 forecast
meteorologists. It provides customized weather
forecasting services to 95,000 clients worldwide,
including international media, more than 180 Fortune
500 companies, government agencies, and
Myers credits the growth of his business to a single word:
trust. We have built trust and people come to us when
the weather is important in their lives.
Trust is also the reason AccuWeather relies on HP
technology to do its job. HP has been a trusted advisor
to AccuWeather for over 20 years, so we use their
equipment extensively. Their advice has been invaluable
to us, states Myers.
Kathleen Fiore, Vice President and CIO of AccuWeather,
explains the importance of information technology to the
organization. Over the years, AccuWeather has gone
from a meteorological weather company that produces
forecasts to a technology company. Information technology
is the heartbeat of AccuWeather. If we didnt have
accuracy, speed, and most importantly reliability in our
IT systems, we wouldnt have a business. HP OpenVMS
systems are the critical lynchpin of our entire process.
AccuWeathers forecast information is stored and
processed on the AccuWeather Forecast Engine (AFE),
an internally developed and constantly updated system.
Running on HP OpenVMS systems, the AFE is based
on more than 20 years of unique business logic and
architecture. It is designed to allow the AccuWeather
meteorologists to produce optimal forecast data and
the system of weather phrases that are one of
AccuWeathers competitive differentiators.
Taking weather to the Web
Over the past five years, AccuWeather has become the
premier supplier of global online weather information.
Each month, AccuWeather.com® receives about 6 million
visitors who access 90 million page views.
AccuWeather.com serves 95,000 paying customers in
media, business, government and institutions, and millions
more through the website. AccuWeather.com also
provides content to more than 600 Internet sites including
CNN Interactive, ABCs owned and operated stations,
The Associated Press, The New York Times and The
HP has been a trusted advisor to
AccuWeather for over 20 years, so we
use their equipment extensively. Their
advice has been invaluable to us.
Dr. Joel N. Myers, Founder, CEO and
President of AccuWeather, Inc.
The monumental success of AccuWeather.com has also
been the source of the companys most daunting IT
challenge. In the highly competitive business of weather
forecasting, speed is a critical success factor. Customers
rely on fast, accurate weather updates or they dont
return to the website.
The AccuWeather.com website has grown to three times
its former size in two years, explains Fiore. When she
first arrived in 2002, the company was finalizing the
launch of its website operations on an IIS/Windows®
architecture. As site traffic increased, speed became a
serious problem. To meet the demands of a growing
customer base, we planned to add more servers. However,
with every new server added, the time it took to populate
the server farm with forecast data increased as well. We
were faced with a regressive architecture.
60-fold speed increase
As site traffic and other customer demands continued to
grow, getting information from the data source to the
website in a timely manner was presenting significant
challenges. Because updating the whole server farm from
beginning to end required the replication of OpenVMS
data to a SQL Server database, AccuWeather felt the
time required to perform this function was becoming
unacceptable, especially in severe weather situations
where rapidly disseminating the most up-to-date
information to the public was essential.
To remedy this problem, the HP account team brought in
business partner Attunity, a leading provider of real-time
connectivity solutions. Together, they analyzed
AccuWeathers systems and proposed a proof-of-concept
solution using Attunity Connect running on HP OpenVMS
AlphaServer systems. The result exceeded expectations.
HP invited our IT engineers to its testing lab in Nashua,
New Hampshire, and showed them how they could get
our information from OpenVMS systems out onto our
website within minutes, recounts Fiore. The proof of
concept allowed us to look at Attunity, look at the HP
equipment, and the combination of both increased the
speed by which we are able to update our server farm by
With Attunity Connect, the AccuWeather website
seamlessly accesses weather conditions and forecast data
directly from the OpenVMS systems, eliminating the
bottlenecks and performance problems that were
introduced when the data had to be replicated in SQL
Server. We decided to stay on OpenVMS because the
platform still has a lot of life in it. The Attunity solution
allowed us to remain on OpenVMS and leverage its
power, speed, accuracy and security, states Fiore.
Its like magic
Based on the success of the proof of concept,
AccuWeather began to move the Attunity Connect-based
solution into the production environment. Six months later,
the solution went live on schedule and within budget.
When the solution went live, meteorologists said things
like: This is unbelievable. Its like magic! Weve never
seen this kind of performance. Its not quite magic,
comments Fiore. Its the combination of HP and Attunity
its the right equipment and the right software.
AccuWeather expected a return on investment in 18
months, but has revised that expectation to come months
earlier. With the new solution, all trends are up: new
customers, new unique page views, new advertising
Technology is usually very impersonal, but this personal
side of the story is very powerful, Fiore relates. I have
friends in California who use AccuWeather.com
religiously. One of my friends used our website days after
we implemented our new HP Attunity solution. In this
particular case, she was watching our website for rain
because her parents lived just below the San Bernardino
Mountains, where there had been terrible fires. Our
website warned of floods and mudslides. She called her
parents who dont have a computer, and got them out
15 minutes before half their house was destroyed by
Whats the forecast?
AccuWeather is committed to staying on the leading
edge of weather innovations, which means staying on the
leading edge of information technology. As we look
down the road, were into all of the new technologies
such as wireless and wireless means speed, says Fiore.
But technology is not just equipment. Its how you use the
equipment and how you adapt it to the environment. And
thats where I believe our partnership is so strong,
because HP has that attitude and it really fits well with
Our long-term plan is to keep our backend AccuWeather
Forecast Engine on OpenVMS because it has a viable
future, comments Fiore. HP is breathing new life into
OpenVMS by porting it to their industry-standard Integrity
servers. This allows us to keep the same operating system,
preserve our code and all the many years of work that
our scientists have spent developing the algorithms, and
absolutely gives us a roadmap into the future on newer
hardware that gets us there faster. Theres no question that
HP is part of the roadmap to AccuWeathers future.
IT is the heartbeat of AccuWeather. If we
didnt have accuracy, speed, and most
importantly reliability in our IT systems, we
wouldnt have a business. HP OpenVMS
systems are the critical lynchpin of our
entire process. Kathleen Fiore,
Vice President and CIO, AccuWeather, Inc.
Adaptive enterprise solution overview:
Meet growing demand with unprecedented speed
Significantly reduce the time required to
update forecast information published on
the AccuWeather.com website
Implement Attunity Connect application
on OpenVMS systems to seamlessly
access weather conditions and forecast
data directly from the AccuWeather
Forecast Engine, eliminating the
bottlenecks and performance problems
that were introduced when data had to
be replicated in SQL Server
Increased the speed of moving
information from the database to the
website by over 60-fold
Reduced costs associated with the
purchase of new servers and the
increased staff to maintain them
At a glance
Name: AccuWeather, Inc.
Headquarters: State College, Pennsylvania
Products/services: Innovative products and presentation
systems that have defined the weather forecasting
industry and made weather forecasts a daily part of
millions of peoples lives, including the highly popular
AccuWeather.com, the only source on the Web for
Exclusive RealFeel Temperature® , Hour-by-Hour
Forecasts, and detailed 15-Day Forecasts.
Hardware: HP AlphaServer systems
Operating systems: HP OpenVMS, Microsoft Windows
Application: Attunity Connect
For more information on how working with HP can benefit you, contact your local
HP service representative or visit us at www.hp.com
AccuWeather.com, RealFeel Temperature, Hour-by-Hour Forecasts, and 15-Day Forecasts are trademarks or
registered trademarks of AccuWeather, Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
© 2004 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change
without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements
accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional
warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.