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Vancouver Canucks score a hospitality hat trick with Veeam for the Microsoft Cloud

The Business challenge

Rogers Arena is home to the Vancouver Canucks, one of professional hockey’s most popular teams. Millions of fans fill the arena each year to cheer their team to victory. It’s up to the Aquilini Investment Group, which owns the Canucks and Rogers Arena, to optimize the fan experience so they keep coming back.

“The fan experience is only as good as their last experience,” said Bryce Hollweg, Director of IT at the Aquilini Investment Group. “Optimizing the fan experience means making sure the IT systems that support hospitality services are running at all times. This includes ticket scanners at the gates, Wi-Fi systems so fans can track game highlights and social media on their mobile devices, and the point-of-sale system so they can purchase food, drinks and team merchandise. If these services aren’t available on game day, IT runs the risk of failing fans, the team and the business.”

The Aquilini Investment Group wasn’t willing to take that risk. If the point-of-sale system is down for just one hour during a game, the business could lose over $100,000 in sales. “It’s not only hockey games we’re concerned about,” Hollweg said. “Rogers Arena hosts approximately 45 Canucks’ games each year, and we also host roughly 45 concerts and shows. If the point-of-sale system failed for one hour during each event, we’d risk losing over $100K in sales.”

To avoid that risk, the Aquilini Investment Group sought faster backup and recovery of the IT systems supporting hospitality services. “The timing was perfect,” Hollweg said. “We had just taken on the responsibility of hospitality services across all business units in Aquilini Group, including hotels and restaurants across Canada. IT had the chance to make a huge impact on the business.”

The Veeam Solution

The Aquilini Investment Group replaced its legacy backup solution with Veeam Availability Suite. “Veeam keeps our hospitality services fully operational across all business units so we can optimize experiences for fans and customers,” Hollweg said. “From ticket scanners to Wi-Fi to the point-of sale system, Veeam keeps them available. It also guarantees we can check customers into our hotels, accept payment for their stays, book reservations in our restaurants and take payment for their meals.”

Veeam backs up and replicates 60VMware vSphere virtual machines (180 TBs) between two data centers and also backs them up to Microsoft Azure. Veeam and Azure help the Aquilini Investment Group meet industry best practices by achieving the final step of the 3-2-1 Backup Rule, which is 3 copies of data stored on two different types of storage with 1 copy located off site. “Offsite backup and cloud-based DR have never been so easy,” Hollweg said. “If we suffer a catastrophic failure, we have peace of mind knowing Veeam can do a direct restore to Azure.”

Veeam Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure helps companies maintain BC by protecting all workloads—on-premises and in Azure. It provides an easy way to move, test and restore Veeam backups and eliminates the complexity of setting up an on-demand recovery site in Azure.

“Veeam delivers the scalability, reliability and cloud data management we didn’t have in the past,” Hollweg said. “Veeam also dramatically reduces our administrative overhead, saving 10 to 12 hours each week. That’s a significant savings for a small IT department like ours. We use that time to find new ways to meet the IT needs of all of our business units.”

The Aquilini portfolio also includes construction companies, property management firms, golf courses, vineyards and the largest cranberry and blueberry farms in North America.

“Veeam delivers continuous Availability of critical IT systems for the entire portfolio,” Hollweg said. “For example, the harvest window for blueberries and cranberries is very short. If the IT systems that support the harvest aren’t available, our time to market might be delayed, which delays sales. From harvesting to hospitality, Veeam’s got us covered.”

The results

  • Optimizes the fan experience by keeping hospitality services available
    “We have to be able to recover hospitality services instantly on game day, and that’s exactly what Veeam enables us to do,” Hollweg said. “We explored this capability with legacy backup solutions, but Veeam is a far superior, less administratively taxing, no-brainer solution.”
  • Ensures BC by protecting workloads on-premises and in Azure
    In addition to keeping hospitality services running continuously on game day, Veeam keeps them running for all business units in the Aquilini portfolio, including restaurants and hotels across Canada—from the Vancouver Atrium Inn to the Montreal Embassy Suites. “Veeam provides a level of Availability we couldn’t find elsewhere,” Hollweg said.
  • Eliminates the risk of downtime costing over $100K per hour
    Veeam protects hospitality services in Rogers Arena — home to the Vancouver Canucks and a number of high-profile concerts and events in the city — by keeping the arena’s point-of-sale system available nonstop.
Vancouver Canucks
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Company:

The Vancouver Canucks are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since joining the National Hockey League in 1970, the team has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals three times. Valued at $735 million by Forbes.com in 2018, the Canucks are owned by the Aquilini Investment Group, which employs 1500 people.

Challenge:

Winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal for the Vancouver Canucks but optimizing the fan experience is a close second. One way to guarantee fans keep coming back is to make sure hospitality services operate at peak performance on game day.

Results:

  • Optimizes the fan experience by keeping hospitality services available
  • Ensures business continuity (BC) by protecting workloads on-premises and in Azure
  • Eliminates the risk of downtime costing over $100,000 in sales per hour
Vancouver Canucks
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