HPE SimpliVity improves VDI Stability for Häagen-Dazs Japan
Streamlines operations management and strengthens business continuity
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Häagen-Dazs Japan, known as a leading company of premium ice cream, has implemented a new virtualization platform for their IT environment with HPE SimpliVity 380 Gen10 from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Japan. The aim is to provide users with a more comfortable business environment by comprehensively resolving issues such as improving VDI stability, insufficient file server capacity, longer backup times, and consolidation of individual business servers. After the introduction, they succeeded in significantly improving the performance, reliability, and flexibility of the infrastructure. They’ve also implemented an environment where business can be restored in a short amount of time in the event of a disaster.
- Improving VDI Stability was a business challenge
Häagen-Dazs has been loved in more than 50 countries since it was introduced in New York, USA in 1961. Häagen-Dazs Japan manufactures and sells a wide variety of ice cream in the Japanese market. The company’s ice cream, which is made with carefully selected ingredients and carefully selected manufacturing methods, has gained overwhelming support in the Japanese market. Not only standard products, but also a wide variety of limited-time products are a big attraction.
In addition, they are promoting efforts for food safety and security, including the hygiene management method “HACCP” which was established in 1998 to ensure product safety and the food safety management system “FSSC 22000”, certified in 2013. Under the corporate philosophy of “Dedicated to Perfection,” Häagen-Dazs strives to provide products/services that exceed customer expectations.
In addition to food safety, Häagen-Dazs is actively utilizing advanced IT, which is a major initiative for the company. As part of this, VDI was introduced company-wide in 2013. Shinichi Takeshita, Manager, Information Systems Department, Häagen-Dazs Japan, talked about the aim at that time as follows, “I wanted to provide an environment where we could work as if we were in the office anytime, anywhere. That was the reason for the introduction of VDI. If we converted the client terminal to VDI, we could use our data in a conference room or on a business trip, all the while working in the same desktop environment. We could also easily perform telework/remote work.” He said that due to the preparation of such an environment, they did not have any significant impact on the business when the corona disaster hit.
However, while operating in their initial VDI environment, they faced various challenges. The biggest one was a lack of performance. In 2018, the company decided not to renew this VDI platform due to challenges such as video data streaming issues.
Shortly thereafter, Häagen-Dazs launched new VDI infrastructure with HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 servers, VMware vSAN™, and virtual GPUs. However, this did not solve all their issues. Takeshita reveals, “We moved the user profile area and folder redirection area to another NAS product, but this product was not stable and there were many minor problems.” Although their performance issues were resolved, problems remained in the environment. Therefore, they turned to Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Japan for its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) product, HPE SimpliVity 380 Gen10, equipped with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, providing best-in-class performance and expandability.
- HPE SimpliVity solves various problems at once
This time, they focused on HPE SimpliVity because they thought it could solve multiple problems of the company’s IT infrastructure at once. Takeshita explained, “For example, we had an issue with our file server. The old file server’s capacity was approaching its limit and the backup process took a very long time. We’d run a weekly full backup starting at midnight on a Friday, but because it was slow, it didn’t finish up until the following Monday.” The company would transfer backup data to remote locations in case of a large-scale natural disaster, but there was concern that it would take a long time to recover it.
“In that respect, HPE SimpliVity has a high-speed backup/restore function that comes standard, and also provides a tool called HPE SimpliVity RapidDR that automates failover/failback operations in the event of a disaster. In addition, Häagen-Dazs Japan operates various business servers such as Lotus Notes, Active Directory, and an information leakage prevention system. When all of this is put together in HPE SimpliVity, it leads to simplification of infrastructure and cost reduction,” says Kenji Kawamura of Net Brains, who was in charge of this project. He continued that he thought it was a big advantage that the operation could be managed with VMware vCenter, which they were is already familiar with due to their previous VDI platform.
The company highly appreciates this solution. Takeshita said, “I myself checked the functions of HPE SimpliVity on video sites, and I thought that it was a very good product. What really caught my eye was the fact that backups can be taken every 10 minutes. This gives us good protection for the data users who are working during the day. In the past, it was only possible to restore data from the previous day, so that was a significant difference compared backups with HPE SimpliVity.”
In addition, HPE SimpliVity also features in-line compression and deduplication with hardware accelerators, so they can make the most of our limited resources. When looking for a new VDI solution, Haagen-Dazs conducted a preliminary verification using an evaluation machine. When the results came back satisfactorily, they decided to move forward with HPE SimpliVity.
- Achieves infrastructure simplification data efficiency
The new virtualization platform by HPE SimpliVity went into production in April 2020. Two nodes were installed in Tokyo and one node was installed as a disaster countermeasure site in Osaka.
All nodes were configured as belonging to the same federation. “The HPE SimpliVity node on the Osaka side is a standby system in case of emergency. We also have a spare VDI environment here, so even if a large-scale natural disaster occurs, we can continue to work without problems,” explains Takeshita. Some HCI products require a minimum of 3 nodes, but HPE SimpliVity allows you to configure a production environment with just 2 nodes. “This is a big advantage in reducing the introduction cost,” (Mr. Takeshita).
Currently, the migration of existing business servers is steadily progressing, and the work is scheduled to be completed in late 2020. “Ultimately, we will have about 13 business servers running on HPE SimpliVity. The servers that remain at the head office will be consolidated, so the infrastructure environment itself will be much simpler than before,” continues Takeshita. Work such as backup, which was previously done by different means, can now be done centrally with VMware vCenter. At the same time, they’re able to simplify operation management.
Häagen-Dazs has succeeded in successfully improving the stability and reliability of VDI, which was an issue in the old environment. “VDI is something we always use in our daily work, so we, the information system department, want to provide users with as stable a service as possible. In that respect, by moving the user profile/folder redirection area from the old NAS to HPE SimpliVity, we no longer have to worry about the troubles we had before,” says Takeshita.
In addition, HPE SimpliVity’s inline compression and deduplication function is effective even for file servers that have had problems of insufficient capacity. Impressive results have been achieved, such as reducing the backup data capacity by about 99.3%. “We are grateful that even if we back up for generations, it consumes almost no space thanks to the in-line compression and deduplication function. The storage capacity itself is larger than before, so we’ll have no worries for a while. If we run out of resources in the future, we can easily add or expand, so we can rest assured,” says Takeshita. They have no complaints about HPE SimpliVity’s performance.
- Enables quick business recovery even in the event of a disaster
HPE SimpliVity is also very effective in efforts to protect data and strengthen BCP. As mentioned above, in the previous environment, backup/remote transfer was only performed once a day, so at the earliest, they could only restore to data from the previous day. “Now, they now take local backups every 30 minutes and at the same time remotely transfer them to disaster recovery sites once an hour. It is a great advantage for our business to be able to restore to data backups from 30 minutes ago locally, even if disaster countermeasures have been activated one hour ago,” says Takeshita. This kind of operation is possible only with HPE SimpliVity’s high-speed backup function.
In addition, the procedure for disaster recovery has been greatly simplified and speeded up. Previously, only data was transferred, so when actually recovering, complicated procedures such as starting up the server on the disaster recovery side and having the user change the connection destination were required. “If we started by turning on the server, it would take about 3 hours before users could use their virtual desktops. With HPE SimpliVity, the entire virtual server can be transferred to the disaster recovery site, and recovery work can be done automatically with HPE SimpliVity RapidDR. As a result, we were able to resume operations in 30 minutes,” says Takeshita. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) was reduced to 1/24 of the conventional level, and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) was reduced to 1/6, which was a dramatic reduction.
- HPE SimpliVity runs business management system
The company, which highly values the performance, reliability, and expandability of HPE SimpliVity, has decided to adopt it for another business system as well. Regarding this point, Takeshita said, “There is a supply chain management system used for procuring raw materials, but originally I was thinking of replacing it with a normal server product. However, with this introduction, I was able to realize the high fault tolerance and excellent backup function, so I decided to adopt HPE SimpliVity here as well.” He said that this system will also be built with a two-node configuration.
“It was a great achievement for us to be able to contribute to solving the problems of Häagen-Dazs Japan. It has proven to be a very good product, and I would like to proactively propose HPE SimpliVity to other customers in the future,” says Kawamura. Takeshita also said, “Providing an environment where employees can work without feeling stress is the greatest mission for us. I would like to continue to improve the environment, aiming for an environment that pleases employees.” HPE SimpliVity will also firmly support that effort.
“WE INTRODUCED HPE SIMPLIVITY TO IMPROVE THE STABILITY OF VDI, BUT WE ARE VERY HAPPY TO RECEIVE MANY ADDITIONAL BENEFITS SUCH AS CONSOLIDATION AND INTEGRATION OF BUSINESS SYSTEMS THAT WERE OPERATING INDIVIDUALLY, DRASTIC REDUCTION OF BACKUP TIME, AND SPEEDY BUSINESS RECOVERY AT DISASTER COUNTERMEASURE SITES, AND I AM VERY HAPPY TO GET IT.”– Häagen-Dazs Japan Co., Ltd., Information system department, Manager, Shinichi Takeshita
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