Millard Case Study: Accelerating Recover of Crucial Applications by 10,000 Fold


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Millard Refrigerated Services accelerated recovery of crucial applications 10,000-fold with a virtualization solution from Dell Services

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Millard Case Study: Accelerating Recover of Crucial Applications by 10,000 Fold

  1. 1. Millard RefrigeratedServices acceleratesrecovery of crucialapplications 10,000-foldwith a virtualization •  Backup/Recovery/Archiving •  Clustering •  Consolidationsolution from Dell •  Dell Systems Management •  Desktop/Laptop Refresh •  Power & Coolingand Microsoft •  Services •  Virtualization “We have drastically reduced the risk of server outages that could affect our business. Now we’re doing a better job of serving our customers.” Curtis Oie, Manager of Technology, Millard Refrigerated Services Customer Profile Company: Millard Refrigerated Services   Benefits •  10,000-fold faster recovery of  Industry: Manufacturing and Logistics business-critical applications   Country: United States after server failure (1-2 minutes,   Employees: 2,500 vs. 2+ weeks previously)  •  520 to 780 IT staff hours per year  Web: reclaimed on server administration  •  5-to-1 average reduction in number  Business Need  of servers at each company location At Millard Refrigerated Services, a small, centralized IT staff was •  Reductions in power and cooling  responsible for maintaining the system infrastructure in 36 different costs companywide locations. Server failures had the potential to substantially impact •  30% to 50% less IT time spent on  the entire business, but IT staff required two to three weeks to replace desktop hardware support an unavailable server. •  Immediate ROI on use of Dell  Deployment Services for desktop  Solution  computer rollout Millard rolled out a virtual server environment based on Microsoft® •  Projected 6-fold improvement in  Hyper-V ™ technology on Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers, supported by recovery point objective (RPO) for  Dell PowerVault™ and Dell EqualLogic™ iSCSI SANs. By using two- single-server failure node clusters in its regional distribution centers, the company has •  Projected 42-fold improvement in  accelerated recovery of business-critical applications 10,000-fold RPO in event of headquarters-wide  in the event of a server failure. Millard also worked with Dell Services infrastructure failure to refresh and standardize desktop hardware companywide. •  Projected 1,000-fold improvement   in recovery time objective (less than  20 minutes, vs. 2+ weeks) •  More reliable hardware compared  with legacy systems
  2. 2. Some like it cold. For those who do, Millard Refrigerated Services is an important ally. With more than 9 million square feet of refrigerated warehouse space across the United States and Canada, Millard is one of North America’s largest providers of storage and distribution services for products that require refrigeration. But for the company’s IT staff of 17, who manage an infrastructure that spans 35 geographically dispersed warehouses and regional distribution centers as well as the company’s corporate headquarters in Omaha, Neb., keeping their cool is sometimes a challenge. Until recently, each Millard location capabilities so that no system would housed HP servers dedicated to specific be unavailable for long. The company“By using Hyper-V to applications, such as the organization’s warehouse management system, had already begun a pilot project testing Dell PowerEdge servers when consolidate physical workforce management system and its 118,239-square-foot Ottumwa, Iowa, Web-based customer interface. These facility faced the failure of a business- servers in all 35 applications shared data with the critical server. remote locations, corporate office, but ultimately all systems critical to the functioning the company is of each warehouse resided within Technology at Work that warehouse’s four walls. Prior saving money on to the upgrade, Millard had between Services Dell™ Deployment Services power and cooling.” 8 and 10 physical servers at each of its 18 regional distribution centers, Dell ProSupportCurtis Oie, and between 6 and 8 servers at itsManager of Technology, other 17 warehouses. Because the IT HardwareMillard Refrigerated Services staff oversaw all these servers from Dell EqualLogic™ PS6500E iSCSI headquarters, servers that failed stayed SANs unavailable for weeks, which meant crucial applications could be down Dell OptiPlex™ 755 and 760 for that long. desktop computers “We had occasional downtime with Dell PowerEdge™ R710 servers the legacy hardware,” says Curtis with Intel® Xeon® processors 5500 series Oie, manager of technology for Millard. “Because our organization is Dell PowerEdge R805 servers so distributed, when a server failed, we with AMD® Opteron™ processors would have to build a new one here Dell PowerEdge Rack 4210 at corporate and ship it to the site. It would take us two to three weeks to Dell PowerVault™ MD3000i get a server quoted, ordered, shipped, iSCSI SAN built, then repackaged, reshipped and Software mounted. And losing access to one of its crucial servers would affect a Custom-built warehouse distribution center’s productivity for management system weeks. A problem with one server in Custom-built Web interface one location could have a very serious impact on the whole business.” Red Prairie® Enterprise Workforce Management Change: A virtual imperative Windows Server® 2008 with Millard decided that it needed a better Hyper-V ™ solution, one that would combine more reliable hardware with failover
  3. 3. “The entire warehouse went down,” easier to administer than a bunch Oie says. “The situation had the of physical servers. Virtualization potential to damage our reputation does bring new challenges, such as as a company, so we couldn’t allow controlling server sprawl by putting the affected servers to be offline for the right policies and procedures in weeks. We immediately installed new place. But all in all, we’ve reduced the Dell hardware in Ottumwa and moved amount of IT staff time spent on server forward with our rollout companywide.” administration by 10 to 15 hours a week—520 to 780 hours per year.”Before long, every Millard warehousehad an entirely new infrastructure in The Dell hardware has proven morewhich Dell PowerEdge R805 servers reliable than the HP systems Millardwith AMD Opteron processors host replaced. “We like the combinationvirtual machines for all the company’s of Dell PowerEdge R805 servers andkey applications. In each regional PowerVault SANs so much that wedistribution center, the PowerEdge upgraded to the same two-nodeservers are configured in a two-node cluster model to house our messagingcluster in a Dell PowerEdge Rack environment when we moved to4210; each of the company’s other Exchange 2007,” Oie says.warehouses runs one PowerEdge R805 Perhaps most important, theserver. All facilities use Windows Server centralized IT team can get crucial2008 with Hyper-V for virtualization applications back online more thanand store data on a Dell PowerVaultMD3000i iSCSI SAN. 10,000 times faster if there is a problem with a server. “With our clusters, if “I really appreciateFailover brings applications back  we have a hardware failure, we that Dell putsonline 10,000 times faster  have another node available to takeThe virtualization initiative led to an over without missing a beat,” Oie resources towardaverage five-to-one reduction in the says. “In our one failover incident since implementing the Dell-based checking in withnumber of servers at each companylocation. “Because we’re distributed, environment, the second node in me and managing the cluster took over in less thanvirtualization didn’t enable us to reducethe number of servers as dramatically two minutes. Before, it would take us the relationship.” two weeks to get a server back we could if everything was in Curtis Oie, This time, end users didn’t even knowone data center,” Oie says. “Still, the Manager of Technology, there had been a problem.” Millard Refrigerated Servicesconsolidation was pretty significantfor us.” Projected 1,000-fold faster RTOThe team invested a considerable Now Millard is migrating many ofamount of effort to complete the the servers in its headquarters to35-site implementation. Because the virtual machines on clusters of Dellwarehouses are open every day with PowerEdge R710 servers with Inteltwo or three shifts, the conversions Xeon processors 5500 series in arequired travel, along with weekend Dell PowerEdge Rack 4210. Oieand overnight implementations from expects about 40 of the location’s 50IT staff. “We basically squeezed 12 servers to eventually be virtual. Twomonths of work into 8 months of time, Dell EqualLogic PS6500E SANs withbut everyone pulled together because SATA disks support the clusters. “Wethe benefits of the change were clearly evaluated SANs from Compellent andworth the sacrifice,” remarks Oie. NetApp, but EqualLogic came out better in terms of pricing because it included“By using Hyper-V to consolidate very useful features, such as replication, physical servers in all 35 remote in the base price of the unit,” Oie says. locations, the company is saving money on power and cooling,” remarks Oie and his team are currently testing Oie. The company is also reclaiming direct data replication between the IT staff time through simplified server storage arrays. Soon they will deploy administration. “We route the SNMP one SAN to the company’s Kansas City, alerts from Dell OpenManage into a Kan., facility. The other SAN, which third-party application that we use will stay in Omaha, will replicate crucial for system administration,” Oie says. data to the Kansas City array every“The virtual machines are definitely four hours. The company now backs
  4. 4. up this data to tape on a daily basis 760 desktop computers. “Once webut transfers the tapes off-site only once decided to standardize, we chosea week. This means that the new setup Dell for their outstanding service andwill improve the company’s recovery pricing,” Oie says. Millard gave Dell anpoint objective (RPO) 6-fold in the event image, and Dell Deployment Servicesof a single-server failure and 42-fold in preinstalled the image on the OptiPlexthe event of a complete loss of the IT machines before shipping them out.infrastructure at corporate headquarters. “Using Dell Deployment Services was a good decision,” he continues. “WeBetter yet, Oie projects that the faced a learning curve in trying tocompany’s recovery time objective provide the correct image and test it(RTO)—the length of time that properly, but once we got it running,applications are offline in the event the rollout went smoothly. Dell did aof disaster—will fall more than 1,000- great job, not only providing us whatfold, from around 2 weeks to less than we needed but helping us through the20 minutes once the entire strategy is process. Our investment in Dell servicesimplemented. “Because of the failover is justified just by the money we savedand disaster recovery that the Dell on travel by not requiring IT staff to goservers and SANs are providing, we to our various locations and configurehave drastically reduced the risk of the desktop computers.”server outages that could affect ourbusiness. Now we’re doing a better job Since the desktop refresh completed,of serving our customers,” Oie says. Millard IT staff has been spending considerably less time on hardwareDell Deployment Services   support. “Our IT staff is spending 30 toprovide immediate ROI 50 percent less time on tickets relatedMillard also selected Dell for a to desktop hardware,” Oie reports.recent desktop computer refresh. “This is partly because the hardwareThe company was running off- is new and reliable, but a significantbrand hardware and wanted better portion of the time savings is due to theconsistency. “Before, there was a fact that the hardware is standardized.”lot of ad hoc purchasing,” says Oie expects Millard to remain aOie. “We wanted to standardize as Dell customer for years to come.much as possible. There was nothing “My experience with Dell has alwayswrong with the value PCs, per se, but been highly positive,” he says. “Noteach motherboard could be slightly only do Dell service and support teamsdifferent, which made it difficult to do a good job, but my Dell rep regularlysupport our desktops. If you’re buying reaches out to me. I’ll get a call ora standardized platform like Dell, you email asking how things are goingknow what you’re installing and you and what our upcoming needs are.know how to fix it.” I really appreciate that Dell putsDell Deployment Services helped resources toward checking in withMillard roll out Dell OptiPlex 755 and me and managing the relationship.”View all Dell case studies at: and terms of Dell Services vary by region. For more information, visit:© March 2011. AMD and Opteron are trademarks or registered trademarks of AMD, Inc. Intel and Intel Xeon areregistered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States or other countries. Microsoft, Windows Serverand Hyper-V are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. This case study is for informational purposes only. DELL MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSOR IMPLIED, IN THIS CASE STUDY. Reference number: 10009354