Hybrid Storage Speeds Booking & Data Retrieval for Resort

By Scott Britz, IT Operations Manager, Breckenridge Grand Vacations | June 05, 2014

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge Grand Vacations (www.breckenridgegrandvacations.com) is recognized by many in the travel business as one of the most successful independent resorts in the industry. A key reason for Breckenridge’s success has been its use of technology.
Increasingly, customers want to bypass telephones and travel agents when booking reservations. In addition to speedy online booking capabilities, travelers are also seeking information on the latest deals in order to get the most affordable options. In a competitive industry, an effective online booking system can mean the difference between success and failure.

Storage and performance challenges
With dramatic growth in online reservations, Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ computer system was suffering serious performance issues. Its storage solution dropped virtual machines and was unable to handle growing workloads, impacting the performance of business-critical applications like Microsoft Outlook. The current state of the system was making it difficult for guests to book travel reservations online and for Breckenridge’s staff to assist them. The company’s storage vendor offered little support.

Guests were unable to book online, especially during the height of the travel season when Breckenridge’s storage system was under the greatest strain. Guests and Breckenridge employees struggled with the resort’s online timeshare property manager, a tool that lets vacationers know when their unit is available and allows them to reserve their stay as well as any activities they wish to participate in while on property.

Downtime means lost revenue. An effective online booking and check-in process is critical to Breckenridge success. The company began hunting for a storage solution to improve its guests’ online experience. It wanted a storage system that could be deployed without the hassle of an IT overhaul.

Fusion solution yields faster access to data
Breckenridge deployed Nimble Storage’s (www.nimblestorage.com) flash-accelerated hybrid storage solution to improve the performance of its online booking system. Nimble Storage solutions are built on the patented cache accelerated sequential layout (CASL) architecture. CASL differs from the traditional bolt-on approach of using flash as a tier. Instead, CASL is designed from the ground up to leverage the random read performance of flash and the cost-effective capacity of hard disk drives.

The solution has allowed Breckenridge to consolidate storage resources into a single converged infrastructure solution. Employees are able to access data ten times faster than before. Breckenridge’s IT operation is more efficient and easier to manage, and its servers are up and running — and available to customers — 24/7.

Breckenridge also chose Nimble Storage for its integrated data protection and disaster recovery capabilities. In the event of a natural disaster, lost power or blackouts, data is replicated efficiently via snapshots that don’t require additional hardware or software licenses. Critical information such as customer records, hotel and timeshare occupancy, and employee information is safe and easily recoverable.

Since deploying the new storage solution, Breckenridge Grand Vacations has seen a 50 percent reduction in the time it takes customers to book online. The technology took a week to fully implement without the need to completely overhaul the resort’s infrastructure.

With fewer disconnections and greater capacity, Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ employees spend less time worrying about IT and more time building relationships with guests.        


Scott Britz is the IT operations manager at Breckenridge Grand Vacations, a Colorado management company that owns and operates three separate resorts in Breckenridge, Colorado. Founded in 1986, the Breckenridge Grand Vacations resorts are popular all-seasons destinations for families who like skiing, hiking, fishing, golfing or rafting.

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