Hylife is a premier global producer and distributor of pork products, with headquarters in Manitoba and operations in the US, Canada, and China. The company’s 1,000+ employees are responsible for the production of approximately 1.6 million hogs per year.
Given the length of time it takes to raise a hog, accurate information is critical for forecasting Hylife’s business and maximizing the efficiency of the company’s operations. This includes various forms of data, including ham scale, loin scale, bacteria levels, boxing systems, plant activity, and more.
Hylife relies on two primary ERP applications to pull the above data from various disparate systems: Microsoft Great Plains with a SQL server backend and a custom ERP application specific to hog production. Employees query this data throughout the day from all over the world using web browsers, smartphones, and other tools.
“All of our core applications and databases are virtualized, which makes our infrastructure versatile and cost effective” said Marcel Broesky, Senior Systems Administrator. “However, this was causing queries to take longer than expected – up to 2.5 minutes on average per individual report. Because such a delay causes our employees to fall out of their normal work rhythm, we needed to find a way to substantially shorten these database query times.”
Hylife turned to PernixData FVP® software to solve their database performance challenges. After installing FVP inside their vSphere kernel, the company was able to cluster several Fusion I/O cards across various Cisco UCS blades to create a low latency acceleration tier for storage reads and writes. No changes were required to their existing Cisco and IBM storage arrays.
“Normal queries that used to take 2.5 minutes now take under 30 seconds with PernixData FVP software in place,” said Broesky, a 500% reduction in query time. “This performance improvement has a far reaching impact across the business, from better fulfillment of orders to optimized hog production. In addition, it has enabled Hylife to keep our strategic ERP systems on a virtualization cluster, which has important implications to the IT organization.”
In addition, because Hylife is a food producer, the company is subject to periodic food safety inspections. As part of this process, auditors request production reports for specific periods of time – e.g. during a production equipment malfunction or failure. Prior to FVP, it took Hylife 2 to 3 days to produce these audit reports. With PernixData’s software in place, these reports now typically complete while the auditors are still onsite. This has helped Hylife increase its food safety rating from a B+ to A, giving the company a distinct advantage when competing for business.
“PernixData has improved our business intelligence functions while ensuring our IT environment remains as flexible as possible,” said Broesky. “We are getting way better database performance than we ever expected, without having to deviate from our virtualization strategy or spending a fortune on an all flash storage array. That is the best Return on Investment you can hope for.”