Published on 30-Oct-2011
Validated on 02 Jan 2014
"I was looking for a solution that could give me maximum uptime, maximum throughput and maximum performance for the bottom dollar. For me that was the IBM BladeCenter S, the IBM BladeCenter H and the IBM System X3550 M3." - Wayne Kinyon, information technology infrastructure lead, Farmers Cooperative Company
Farmers Cooperative Company
Wholesale Distribution & Services
Database Management, Automation, Energy Efficiency, Enterprise Modernization
Founded in 1881, Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC) is the largest farmer-owned agricultural cooperative in Iowa. With headquarters in Ames, FC serves over 5,500 active members across a vast trade territory covering more than 3 million acres of farmland. With $1.1 billion U.S. in revenue, FC members are served from over 60 locations across the state by more than 700 employees.
FC needed to bolster its increasingly automated IT environment with improved performance, storage and reliability across a highly distributed infrastructure.
FC implemented a solution that includes two IBM® BladeCenter® S chassis, a BladeCenter H chassis, BladeCenter HS21, HS22 and HS22V servers using Intel® Xeon® processors. The implementation also includes an IBM System x® 3550 M3 server and an IBM System Storage® DS3400.
The IBM solution improves performance across the enterprise, saves physical space and reduces energy consumption, and increases reliability in demanding operating conditions.
Since its founding in 1881, Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC) has grown to become the largest farmer-owned agricultural cooperative in Iowa. With headquarters in Ames, FC serves over 5,500 active members across a vast trade territory covering more than 3 million acres of farmland. With $1.1 billion U.S. in revenue, FC members are served from over 60 locations across the state by more than 700 employees.
FC exists on the premise that if a group of people with similar goals get together, they can achieve more than any one of them could on their own. To that end, FC’s main goal is to help its members by offering competitive products at the economies of scale needed to successfully compete in a global agricultural marketplace.
Wayne Kinyon, IT Infrastructure Lead, Farmers Cooperative Co.
Farmers Co-op is a grain-based, or agricultural-based, co-op in central Iowa that buys and sells grain and then make feed for the large integrators in Iowa. During the busy season we run as many hours as we can run and stay open for them as late as we can so that they can get their crop out of the field when they need it, to get them the feed when they need it day or night.
Farmers Co-op has six feed mills, four of which are automated. Everything needs to be tracked for the USDA and FDA, so you need to know what ingredients were put into every batch. The reliance on IT is getting larger, to keep track of the bookkeeping, to do the levels of automation that we do. The biggest fear that we’ve always had is with four technicians and 87 sites is: four guys can’t be in more than four places.
The solutions have been the IBM BladeCenter S, the Blade Center H and the System x3550 M3 solutions. The feed mills literally grind down to microns. Feed and grain dust is everywhere. The BladeCenter has the option for an Airborne Contaminant Filter Kit. We run the filter kit and I clean it and replace it every month, every other month. The BladeCenter S literally has been running for nine months. I’ve had no downtime, no outages. The temperature is staying 20, 22 degrees Celsius, which is barely above the room temperature of the room that it’s in.
With the changes I’ve made there’s enough RAM to the SQL database that the database will perform for five, ten years without doing a lot of maintenance and a lot of cleaning. The system x3550 M3 has been a rock-solid performer for our network monitoring. I can monitor all the other aspects of the system through the network: RAID performance, CPU utilization, power, specs inside VMware, the virtual machines, and if anything goes out of tolerance we’ve got it set up to email us.
With the Intel technology, we’re using Hyper-Threading in pretty much everything: desktops, laptops, all of the servers. It just gives us that much more performance, that much more edge. That 3550 now currently runs what I had to have three physical boxes prior, for monitoring software.
My advice is look for those solutions that can give you maximum uptime, maximum throughput, maximum performance for the bottom dollar. With the IBM solutions, the users have noticed nothing but leaps forward.
Products and services used
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America October 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, System x, System Storage and Tivoli are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Intel, Intel logo and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, either expressed or implied.