Power Consolidation:
fenaco replaces infrastructure and relies on Flash

The agricultural cooperative fenaco has been successfully running several core applications on IBM Power Systems and the IBM i operating system for years. These also include SAP. In collaboration with ITpoint, the expanded infrastructure has now been consolidated and enhanced with Flash storage.

Initial situation
When it comes to many of fenaco’s business divisions, a high availability of systems is imperative, for example, to meet the needs of meat processing specialists Ernst Sutter AG or leading beverage producers, RAMSEIER Suisse AG. For these organisations, it is essential that IT is permanently available, especially the ERP. This is why fenaco has been using critical applications for years now, among them the highly stable “Power i” platform. Despite virtualization technologies, fenaco’s separate projects resulted in several IBM Power Systems with many directly attached disk expansion units at the Winterthur and Sursee locations. In collaboration with ITpoint, the fenaco team tested the IT possibilities of optimising power, cooling, rack space and maintenance – with stable availability and performance at the least.

In a conception and planning phase, specialists from fenaco and ITpoint laid out the details of the project implementation. Particular attention was paid to the smooth migration of applications with 24/7 operation within the few windows for annual maintenance. The conception phase was followed by realization: the existing six power systems were replaced with a new power and storage infrastructure at the Winterthur and Sursee locations. New IBM Power S824 systems with POWER8 processors were also implemented at both locations. The power system in Sursee was designated a Disaster Recovery System. The IBM i licenses reduced by the consolidation could be transferred to the new systems. The existing high-availability software Vision iTera has been adapted accordingly. The Power Systems now grab external IBM V9000 storage systems via 16Gb FC SAN. This Micro-Latency Flash System combines maximum performance with functionality. One of these functions is “Real-Time Compression”. This integrated software today reduces the data of all fenaco partitions by about 70%. By using the Flash technology, over 200 conventional disks could be reduced to two dozen flash modules.

Advantages & Outlook

  • Increased total system output through rack space reduction: > 75%
  • Reduced energy consumption: approx. 35 kW running or approx. 300,000 kWh per year
  • Return on investment: approx. 1 year
  • Simplified operation for the fenaco IT team

About fenaco
With over 100 years of ideas, fenaco is an agricultural cooperative in the hands of around 200 LANDI. It counts over 43'000 members, most of whom are farmers. As a purchaser from farmers, fenaco ensures that valuable Swiss food products make it to the customers – from fruit, vegetables and potatoes to meat and beverages. As a supplier, fenaco offers a wide range of products and services needed for sustainable, efficient and safe agriculture.

fenaco’s most well-known brands include the beverage producer RAMSEIER Suisse, meat processor Ernst Sutter, retailers Volg and LANDI, fertilizer dealer Landor, feed producer UFA, as well as the energy supplier AGROLA. fenaco is headquartered in Bern and has around 10'000 employees. In 2015, it generated CHF 6.04 billion in net proceeds.

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