Mall of America (MOA), located in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest mall in the United States. In addition to over 520 stores, Mall of America is home to Nickelodeon Universe, a 7-acre indoor amusement park. MOA also houses the 1,300,000-gallon Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. Since opening its doors in 1992, MOA welcomes an average of 40 million people from around the world per year and generates nearly $2 billion in economic impact each year.
Janette Smrcka, IT Director, manages MOA’s 20-person IT team and believes in cultivating memorable moments for guests through streamlined IT operations. “Our team is made of problem-solvers,” said Smrcka. “It’s unique in that many of them came from other departments within Mall of America. They know exactly how the business operates on a wider scale, what IT means to the business, and how IT can either enable or inhibit a guest’s experience. Whether it’s empowering our employees or creating technology that guests interact with directly, IT is paramount in elevating customer satisfaction.”
"Our number one priority as a business is to make sure that our guests have an amazing experience on our property, and we help create those moments through digital transformation initiatives driven by our IT team. To us, that means constantly reevaluating our processes for opportunities to increase efficiencies. We’ve never been a company that sits still; having partners like Rubrik that think outside the box helps us move even faster."
We’ve never been a company that sits still; having partners like Rubrik that think outside the box helps us move even faster.
- Complex, time-consuming management of legacy solution
- Unreliable, lengthy restores for painful upgrades
- Inadequate customer support
- 80% reduction in management time savings
- 52 days per year of additional productivity
- 90% faster restores
- Seamless archival to Microsoft Azure
- Protection for Microsoft Hyper-V environment
Increased productivity allows the team to spend more time on digital transformation initiatives
Digital transformation initiatives have a significant impact on optimizing employee efficiency and enhancing the overall guest experience, supporting their reputation as a world-class destination
Rubrik has also allowed Mall of America to advance their cloud-first initiative with data archival to the public cloud, saving money on tape
Business-critical applications threatened by unreliable legacy solution
Prior to Rubrik, MOA struggled with a legacy solution that required an inordinate amount of care and feeding. “For our team, backup isn’t something we should be spending time worrying about,” said Smrcka. “With our previous solution, failed jobs were difficult to troubleshoot and would often create a backlog of issues that even their support team couldn’t diagnose.” In order to best enable their IT team, MOA needed a reliable data management solution that could eliminate complexity and accelerate their cumbersome processes.
“Every vendor has nice marketing materials, but hearing a peer testimony carries so much weight because it’s honest,” said Smrcka. “While networking with a few CIOs, we heard a story about Rubrik’s radical simplicity that seemed too good to be true. Further research only validated those claims. Dynamic innovation is baked into the DNA of Mall of America, which is why partnering with solutions like Rubrik who share our relentless attitude towards problem-solving is key to how our entire IT organization develops.”
“We’re cost-conscious buyers, both from a hard cost and opportunity cost perspective, and could already see how Rubrik’s simplicity would give valuable time back to our team every week,” said Smrcka. “Despite having already paid for another year of support on our previous solution, we made the move to Rubrik—it just made sense. Knowing that Rubrik was built from the ground up to integrate seamlessly with our Hyper-V environment made the choice even easier.”
For our team, backup isn’t something we should be spending time worrying about. With our previous solution, failed jobs were difficult to troubleshoot and would often create a backlog of issues that even their support team couldn’t diagnose
Superior guest experience with significant time savings
With Rubrik’s simple, automated data management, MOA is spending considerably less time monitoring backups. From proactively preventing against data loss by implementing encrypted email capabilities to enhancing their mobile work environment so that employees can remotely access their applications, the team is now able to focus on optimizing IT processes to deliver more value back to the business, in addition to enhancing the safety of MOA’s environment.
“Every morning, our maintenance staff and operational staff do a safety check for the Nickelodeon Universe amusement rides, a process done via paper for the past 20 years,” said Smrcka. “Our increase in productivity post-Rubrik allowed our team to develop and launch a new internal application that will help perform that manual check electronically, allowing us to not only report on that data, but also get our staff back on the floor with guests faster. With Rubrik, our team is able to be curious and suggest even more ways to benefit our property through transformative technologies; that sort of innovation isn’t possible when your team is busy just keeping the lights on.”
With Rubrik, our team is able to be curious and suggest even more ways to benefit our property through transformative technologies; that sort of innovation isn’t possible when your team is busy just keeping the lights on.
Rapid restores for streamlined upgrades
Availability is paramount for MOA, whose legacy backup solution threatened their “always on” mindset with slow restores and clunky system upgrades.
“We had little confidence in our previous solution that we would be able to perform timely restores, a critical part of maintaining our availability requirements,” said DJ Mulugeta, IT Manager. “Previously, I would have to spend 8 hours restoring our SQL servers in preparation for critical upgrades. If that information was on tape, we would sometimes have to spend several days just finding and indexing the right information. It was a painfully long process that severely impaired our productivity.”
Rubrik’s unmatched speed and simplicity gives us the confidence that backup is not going to be a bottleneck. Our largest servers can now be restored in just 30 minutes, streamlining our upgrade process and giving me back 7 hours of my day.
Mall of America protects their 100% virtualized environment and mission-critical applications with Rubrik