Manchester Central is in the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. With the capacity to accommodate intimate corporate functions, large-scale conferences and huge international exhibitions, Manchester Central provides the perfect location for some of the world’s leading events, including the Children’s Global Media Summit and IP Expo.
Delivering exceptional experiences is what Manchester Central does best, and robust IT systems and processes play a key role. “We’re always looking for ways to enhance IT system availability, so we contacted Keytech,” said Steven Bennett, Head of IT at Manchester Central. “They’ve been our technology partner for many years, and we knew they’d have a solution.”
Bennett said the IT team wanted to take advantage of the latest technology to increase recovery speed in a disaster scenario. Restoring its event management system (Ungerboeck) off-premises could take up to 24 hours, which had the potential to create a disconnect among teams, data and processes.
“We pride ourselves on being a world-class venue from the first time you contact us about hosting your event to the moment you’re greeted on site by our concierge team,” he said. “The services we provide set us apart from other venues, but we need unlimited access to Ungerboeck so can deliver those services efficiently.”
Andy Pilkington, CTO at Keytech Managed Solutions, said replication was the answer for unlimited access to Ungerboeck. “We’ve provided Backup as a Service (BaaS) to Manchester Central for many years, and now it was time to add replication for DRaaS.”
Veeam® and Keytech deliver DRaaS to enhance Manchester Central’s BC plan. “In the event of a disaster, we know we’ll have access to our event management system in minutes so the business can carry on normally,” Bennett said. “Veeam and Keytech give us tremendous peace of mind.”
Manchester Central uses Veeam Availability Suite™ to back up 15 TB across 30 virtual machines on premises for fast recovery and to Keytech, so an offsite copy is available for BaaS. Keytech also replicates mission-critical workloads to dedicated cloud hosts for DRaaS.
Pilkington said Veeam Availability Suite has been powering Keytech’s BaaS and DRaaS for more than a decade. “Veeam helps us provide the best services possible to our mutual customers. For example, we can replicate directly into vCloud Director to take advantage of the enhancements VMware built into the platform, enabling us to scale our infrastructure so we can accommodate every customer’s needs.”
Manchester Central and Keytech also use Veeam Availability Console, a webbased management and monitoring platform offering several capabilities. For Keytech, that includes deploying BaaS and DRaaS for customers. For Manchester Central, that includes managing backup and automating DR testing from a single user interface. The process is so incredibly fast and easy that I no longer have to focus my time and priorities on DR testing. Instead I can focus on improving IT services for our visitors, from Wi-Fi to our web site portal.”
Veeam also helps Manchester Central comply with GDPR. Built-in, end-to-end 256-bit encryption scrambles data into an unreadable format that can only be unlocked by Manchester Central. “Veeam encrypts data during backup, replication and at rest,” Bennett said. “This is another way Veeam gives us peace of mind.”
Manchester Central Convention Complex is an award-winning venue welcoming more than 500,000 visitors each year to Manchester, England. Built in 1880, the building originally served as the Manchester Central railway station before being converted into one of the largest convention complexes in Europe. More than 23,000 square meters of flexible space are available for functions hosting 10 to 10,000 guests.
An event planning system is the lifeblood of any convention complex. It provides end-to-end management for scheduling, logistics, catering, operations, sales and bookings. To eliminate the risk of downtime for Manchester Central’s event planning system, the IT team enhanced its business continuity (BC) plan by adding Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).