Logicalis books a smooth infrastructure migration from Sun to HPE for online reservations leader Lanyon (formerly Passkey International, Inc.)

Lanyon is the worldwide leader in online group reservations. The Waltham, MA-based technology company offers meeting destinations, hotels and planners a powerful web-based solution for managing group hotel reservations. The heart of the Lanyon system is an innovative online booking engine that lets group attendees make their hotel reservations online in the contracted group block, while allowing event planners and hotels to access real-time reports and event information. The Lanyon-enabled global network includes more than 85 percent of major U.S. Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs), as well as thousands of hotels, trade associations, meeting planners and meeting management companies.

The IT environment that supported Lanyon's technology-driven business model in 2007 was comprised of Sun servers running Linux. It was becoming increasingly unstable. Lanyon Director of IT, Jim Hanrahan, says it took very little time after he started work at Lanyon to see there were problems. “The technology was aging and it wasn’t going to meet our performance demands,” he recalls. “It wasn’t going to meet our projected growth, nor was it going to meet the stability and uptime requirements we had set for ourselves. It was a three-way failure.”

Platform for continued growth
Founded in 1996, Lanyon had reached an enviable point in its maturity and had market dominance in a robust market. It was planning to move into a new datacenter and the IT strategy was to design and implement a new IT environment at the new datacenter to provide a platform for continued growth and expansion.

To help him research, design and implement the environment of Lanyon's future, Hanrahan reached out to Logicalis account executive Phil Sharpe, whom he had worked with frequently during his career. They began bouncing ideas off each other in a dialogue that led to the decision to replace Lanyon’s existing Sun/Linux infrastructure with HPE Integrity servers running HPE UX, Proliant blades, and HPE Data Protector for backup on HPE StorageWorks MSL tape libraries. HPE OpenView was installed for system management. Logicalis also designed and implemented the Cisco IP telephony system in the new headquarters.

“It’s not like we just switched out products,” Hanrahan notes. “We updated the entire infrastructure: the servers, the storage, the architecture, the network…we changed it all.”

A bet-the-business undertaking, there was no room for error. Hanrahan’s due diligence was broad and deep and encompassed competing technology products as well as different service providers.

“One of the strong points for working with Logicalis was that we were able to get questions answered quickly,” Hanrahan says. “Phil would facilitate the communication I needed with the people in the appropriate organizations we were dealing with. There were several joint events set up by Logicalis where we were able to meet with people at HPE who do all the testing and performance analysis. That made it very nice. That made me feel comfortable. This was a big project, and it had to work.”

New environment
Hanrahan and his team worked closely with Logicalis delivery consultants to implement and test the new systems incrementally—progressing from the development and staging platforms to production and disaster recovery until a completely new working environment was established and ready to take over from old one.

“One night we shut everything down; we did one more backup of the data; we changed the address records, synced some specific files and brought it all up at the new data center,” Hanrahan says. “We tested it for a few hours and then we went live. The whole process was flawless. It involved a lot of preparation, but the only thing we brought from one building over to the other was one tape. We moved into our data center. Then we moved our whole company three months later to a new Headquarters.”

The new IT environment has lived up to its expectations. “We have a much more modern environment, and our ability to manage our environment has greatly improved. We’re continuing to build on that. The expansion capabilities of the new environment mean that it can evolve and grow with us as we grow. We’ve already added more servers and more storage. HPE’s products have been fantastic,” he adds. “They live up to what they are supposed to do and uptime and performance have increased a tremendously.”

Once the transition was complete, Logicalis also provided the thin-client technology and implemented a training center for customers at Passkey’s new headquarters. The training center serves as a showcase for Lanyon’s online reservation services.

“Through it all, Logicalis was a partner that had ability to help us across the board and to stay with us,” Hanrahan says. “They weren’t just somebody who sold us the hardware and walked away. Whether it was servers or storage, or networking or security or phone systems or virtualization technology, they could really make sure that the overall solution worked. Their skills were far reaching. And they stayed committed to us. They stayed committed to the relationship.”