HyLife is high on the hog thanks to faster query times

Some pigs are known for their ability to sniff out precious truffles in the forest, but for Manitoba’s HyLife, a global producer and distributor of pork products, finding the answer as to why virtualization was slowing down its ERP systems took a bit of digging.

Outgoing senior systems administrator Marcel Broesky grew up in rural Manitoba, a province that has relatively small IT community, and when he joined HyLife, virtualization was very much an afterthought. He spent the first year and a half building out the company’s VMware infrastructure to provide redundancy for its ERP, but from day one, he said, it was hit by performance problems.

HyLife, which has about 1,700 employees and 500 discrete email addresses and desktops, has two ERP systems – a custom one specific to hog production and Microsoft Dynamics – to pull various forms of data from disparate systems. This data includes ham scale, loin scale, bacteria levels, plant activity, and more. With all of its core applications and databases virtualized, HyLife had a more versatile and cost-effective infrastructure, but it was causing queries to take longer expect – up to 2.5 minutes on average for each report.

“We couldn’t figure out the problem,” said Broesky. The quest for a solution led him to VMworld, where he spoke to as many people on the tradeshow floor as possible where he encountered PernixData, who informed him he had a data latency problem.

HyLife ended up using PernixData FVP software to solve its database performance challenges by installing FVP inside its vSphere kernel to support clustering of several Fusion I/O cards across various Cisco UCS blades, said Broesky. This created a low latency acceleration tier for storage reads and writes without having to change the company’s existing Cisco and IBM storage arrays. “Immediately the benefit was obvious,” he said. “It improved our systems so much that we continued to grow our ERP system by injecting more data into it.”

The IBM flash storage system employed by HyLife is the same one used by a popular dating site Plenty of Fish, noted Broesky, which sees in excess of 150,000 new users a month. “We may not be a popular online dating site, but we have a lot of unique users a month.” Those users come in the form of about 130,000 new hogs, and the data surrounding all of that pork is queried a lot.

While Broesky concedes HyLife’s software could be more efficient – “it’s not away best practice to throw hardware at software issues” – the company’s developers are focusing their attention on other efficiencies.

In the meantime, HyLife has been able to address potential downtime through virtualization and redundancy across two sites, which would cost the company $2,000 per minute, Broesky said. If you have a major failure, you’re looking at two or three hours. That adds up pretty quick.”

A massive query used to take hours, but that time has massively shrunk, he said. “Data is constantly getting flushed through.”

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

Featured Articles

Cybersecurity in 2024: Priorities and challenges for Canadian organizations 

By Derek Manky As predictions for 2024 point to the continued expansion...

Survey shows generative AI is a top priority for Canadian corporate leaders.

Leaders are devoting significant budget to generative AI for 2024 Canadian corporate...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now