Virtualization is the way to go for Kinepolis. It allows the IT team of the cinema group to move quickly, following the needs of the business. Kinepolis is running Nutanix’ hyper converged infrastructure – implemented by Nubera – at its central data center and at its theater sites.
Leading cinema group and film distributor
Kinepolis runs 35 cinema complexes in Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. The group manages nearly 100.000 seats in 398 theaters. Kinepolis also acts as film distributor. The group hosts events, is involved in screen advertising and real estate management. Kinepolis has approximately 2.100 employees.
Coping with rapid growth by adopting an agile ICT strategy
“The group is growing rapidly”, says Jo De Pelsmaeker, IT Manager Infrastructure & Support at Kinepolis. “We have acquired several theaters and invest in the construction of new cinema complexes as well. We support the group’s growth with an agile ICT strategy, allowing us to meet the group’s business needs as quickly as possible.”
Throughout this ICT strategy, simplicity is a key word. Jo De Pelsmaeker: “We prefer ICT infrastructure that is easy to-deploy, that allows remote management and that provides the flexibility we need to respond quickly to new business needs.” During the search for the infrastructure solution that would meet these needs, one extra element was taken into account: the introduction of Vista Cinema. The ERP software supports the management of customer transactions, both online and in the cinema complexes, including sales of tickets, soft drinks and sweets. Jo De Pelsmaeker: “We wanted a platform that would offer us all the scalability and performance we need.”
Nutanix’ hyperconverged infrastructure – storage, computing power and virtualization in a single box
Kinepolis did the math. Should the group continue using the existing solution, or choose a completely different approach? “It quickly became clear that the traditional hardware and storage approach was out of the question”, says Jo De Pelsmaeker. Kinepolis was already using VMware server virtualization at the complexes, but not in its central data center. “Nubera suggested a Nutanix based solution in the data center: one ‘box’ that combines all components - including redundancy and virtualization - and that can be set up in a flexible way.”
Nutanix offers hyperconverged infrastructure. It is a solution that integrates storage, computing and virtualization into a single platform. This way, Nutanix allows for saving space and energy consumption in the data center, while avoiding the traditional complexity of storage. All in all, Nutanix provides a concrete take on IT as a service. Nutanix offers some kind of invisible infrastructure, so to speak, focusing the attention where it belongs: on the applications.
Implementing the Nutanix systems
The combination of Nutanix and Nubera convinced Kinepolis in no time, driving the group to look at the opportunity to move to hyperconverged infrastructure in all of its cinema complexes. “The server environment of a movie theater is rather small”, says Jo De Pelsmaeker. “On average, it is running five servers. Minimal data center functionality is sufficient, provided that it is of the highest level. And that’s exactly what Nutanix offers.” So far, Nubera implemented Nutanix systems in four cinema complexes. “We are really happy about the solution. Nutanix offers the scalability and performance we require.”
The group’s ERP system is particularly business critical. Without this system, no transactions would take place and Kinepolis would lose direct sales. “That’s why we wanted a simple infrastructure, built on straight-forward logic and with one single point of contact. In the event the infrastructure goes down, you don’t want to end up in a situation where five suppliers all blame each other.”
Kinepolis’s small infrastructure team - seven employees, including four for support - has no trouble supporting the group’s growth. Nubera plays a key role in this approach. “We deliberately chose a partner that might be slightly smaller in size, but that is clearly made of the right stuff”, Jo De Pelsmaeker concludes. “At Nubera, Kinepolis isn’t just a number. There is a close relation with Nubera’s employees. They know our business through and through. In the end, it’s the combination of Nutanix and Nubera that really makes the difference.”