On the case: Largo Foods cuts downtime and improves performance with move to virtual DR

6 Jul 2012

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(From left) John Casey, sales director, Trilogy Technologies; Michael McGinn, IT manager, Largo Foods; and Edel Creely, MD, Trilogy Technologies

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Largo Foods owns some of Ireland’s most iconic snack brands, including Tayto, Hunky Dorys, King Crisps and Perri. It manufactures and distributes a variety of snack foods, including crisps, peanuts and popcorn in Ireland, supplying both branded and own-label products in Ireland and in the UK, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and continental Europe.

THE CHALLENGE

Established in 1983, Largo Foods has production facilities in Ashbourne, Co Meath, Gweedore, Co Donegal, and the UK. The company employs 530 people in Ireland, of which 180 are active IT users. According to Michael McGinn, Largo Foods’ IT manager, the company needed to upgrade its ERP server infrastructure, and looking further ahead, the complete server farm would also need to be renewed over the course of the next couple of years.

Largo’s core ERP system is IFS, which handles activities such as debtors, creditors, finance, distribution and manufacturing. Mobilise from EDG captures information in the field, such as pre-order taking, delivery/invoice at source and product distribution. It then links automatically back to the Largo ERP system. A major ERP outage would have had a huge disruptive impact on the business – making it essential to have a fully functioning disaster recovery system.

THE STRATEGY

Largo Foods chose Trilogy Technologies as the preferred solution provider after a detailed tendering process. “Looking at the options available we decided to move to virtualised disaster recovery solution capable of 24×7 system access and fail-over in the event of an interruption or disaster,” adds McGinn.

THE SOLUTION

Trilogy implemented a fully redundant virtual private cloud infrastructure based on IBM servers, storage and backup and built the infrastructure in VMware VSphere 5 technology. Additional IBM storage is configured on the virtual platform and is housed in a separate data centre. The storage area networks are connected via fibre-optic backbone using VMware’s backup and replication features.

This provides Largo with continuous uptime while addressing business continuity and disaster recovery. The project allows online replication and automated failover of Largo’s ERP system. Cost was a secondary consideration in opting for the virtualised option, McGinn insists. “Our ERP server needed to be upgraded. The approach taken was the best one to future-proof the investment.”

THE BENEFITS

The virtual private cloud solution has removed exposure to downtime on Largo’s ERP system, McGinn says. The infrastructure will also enable Largo to have the same failover capability for all other servers as they are migrated to this environment.

Trilogy Technologies carried out the ERP migration on time with no disruption to the business. Users have also noticed significant improvements in system performance following the migration. “These exceeded our own expectations,” says McGinn.

THE VERDICT

“We now have a reliable, secure and resilient IT environment in place,” McGinn says. “Our business is future proofed and we are migrating the rest of the server environment with great confidence.”

Largo chose a private cloud and for now considers a public cloud service “too big a jump” from its setup. “We may consider it down the road, but it is some years away before we would consider such a move,” says McGinn.

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