eGenius Kommunikations- ind Projektmanagement GbR offers comprehensive IT services for small to medium-sized companies. Among other endeavors, since 1991 the IT experts at eGenius have developed system support solutions for major Christian events,such as the German Catholic Church Gathering and Protestant Church Gathering.InterSystems technology is ideal whenever there are critical requirements to be met regarding reliability, scalability, and short development times.

Development time: four weeks

Key Benefits

  • Complex requirements
  • Fast development with a small project team
  • Cloud computing
  • Data security

 In March 2011, the German Conference of Bishops awarded eGenius with the contract to develop an online ticketing system for the visit to Germany by Pope Benedict XVI. The system had to be ready by early May in order to process the distribution of free entry tickets to the five planned major events in the Archdioceses of Berlin and Freiburgand the Diocese of Erfurt. “As a result, we only had about four weeks development time before the start of registration,” stated Project Manager Malte Schnack of eGenius. “InterSystems Caché is extremely well suited for such ambitious and dynamic projects with tight deadlines. As a complete package comprising a powerful database and development environment, including InterSystems Zen technology for web applications, Caché requires far fewer time-consuming tests and enables fast results with fewer personnel.” In fact, the three eGenius employees working on the project were able to go live with the system and enter ticket requests on May 3, 2011 initially through rectories, and then on May 16 online via the


Complex requirements

As a complete package comprising a powerful database and development environment, Caché is extremely well-suited for ambitious and dynamic projects with tight deadlines.

Malte Schnack, Project Manager eGenius

The papal visit to Germany on September 22-25, 2011 was both a major religious and logistical event. More than 300,000 people attended the five masses in Berlin, Erfurt, Etzelsbach, and Freiburg. More than 100,000 visitors came to the final event alone, on the grounds of the airport in Freiburg. All participant information flowed into the eGenius ticketing system. In addition ticket distribution, including establishment of quotas, regular newsletters to interested parties, evaluations, and the management of volunteers, was processed by the application.

eGenius“The project requirements were extremely complex,” said Malte Schnack in looking back. “In particular, bringing together the varied perceptions of the interested parties into a single solution proved to be quite a challenge.” In addition to eGenius,the project team included representatives from the host bishops as well as the German Conference of Bishops as the general coordinator of the papal visit. The specifications of the Federal Criminal Police Office, which is responsible for security for major events, also had to be implemented.

Cloud computing for scalability

Because of the expected high and extremely fluctuating access rates, scalability in terms of resources and licenses was seen as being particularly important during the development of the ticketing system. For this reason, the project team selected InterSystems Caché for use as a flexible lease model, and installed the database in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a cloud service that provides computer resources as needed with high availability and a backup service. “Caché as the run-time environment and use of the cloud platform were new technology for us,” said Malte Schnack. “But everything went smoothly, and we were able to handle peak loads during critical phases, especially during the first two days.”

In terms of data security as well, InterSystems Caché is the first choice – especially given its origins in healthcare IT, where protecting sensitive data is extremely important.

Malte Schnack, Project Manager eGenius

The eGenius system not only administered ticket distribution, it also helped in directing the stream of visitors: for example, when the quota for the mass in front of Erfurt Cathedral was completely exhausted, interested worshipers were referred to the Marian Vespers at the 25 hectare space infront of Etzelsbach Pilgrimage Chapel in Eichsfeld, Thuringia. And finally, thanks to the timely evaluations delivered from the system, after rather limited initial demand more than 90,000people attended the Etzelsbach Marian Vespers 30,000 more than expected.

Security and data protection

Comprehensive security measures were also built into the eGenius ticketing system. For example, it had to be ensured that only authorized persons including honored guests, altar servers, and choir members were given access to the defined security zones near the Pope. For organizational and safety reasons, the event organizers were interested in obtaining as much information as possible about persons requesting tickets. This included large volumes of personal data such as date, city, and country of birth, as well as the name of the bus agency and driver for planned bus trips. It is for this reason that data protection measures were among the most critical requirements fore Genius. Security was provided primarily through a multi-level authorization concept, AES database encryption, and a limited storage period. “In terms of data security, InterSystems Caché is most definitely the first choice especially given its origins in healthcare IT, where protecting sensitive data is extremely important,” explained Malte Schnack. At the end of September, immediately after the papal visit concluded, all systems were shut down and all saved data, including backups, were deleted.