Customers

Ballester Hermanos delivers on its quality and service guarantee with Nutanix

The leading food distributor in Puerto Rico uses Nutanix to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain for businesses and communities island-wide

Industry

Transportation/Logistics

Benefits

  • Complete data center migration with zero downtime
  • Significant reduction in recovery time: from 8 hours to 15 minutes
  • Turn-key solution: Nutanix Mine with HYCU up and running within 15–20 minutes
  • More than 60–70% time savings for IT teams
  • 80%+ of IT processes automated

Solutions

Applications and Use Cases:

  • SQL Servers
  • SAP Database
  • Network Virtual Appliances
  • Antivirus Virtual Appliances

Business Benefits

As a leading Puerto Rican food distributor, Ballester Hermanos, Inc. is known for excellence in quality and service. Powered by Nutanix, they are supporting operations with improved reliability, significant reduction in recovery times, improved time savings thanks to process automation, and zero downtime during migration.

Challenge

Ballester Hermanos has been serving Puerto Rico with the best food products for more than 100 years.

The company represents over 100 brands and serves over 5,000 leading grocery stores and foodservice establishments island-wide. As distributors of grocery, dairy, frozen, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and household products, Ballester Hermanos is committed to delivering the best quality to their customers on time, every time.

“Along with always guaranteeing the quality of the products, Ballester Hermanos has a motto that if you order from us, we guarantee that we will deliver the food to you the next day,” said Mr. Aldwin Leon, Senior Information System Administrator. “For example, if a foodservice customer places an order with us before 3pm today, we will guarantee that before 11am tomorrow, they’ll have their food in their restaurant, their food truck, wherever they are. No matter what, we will make that delivery.”

In challenging circumstances, the company’s motto is even more important. “Hurricane Maria was a decisive moment for us as a company,” Mr. Leon explained. “When the hurricane struck, we were the only few, at that time, that were standing.”

To continue providing an excellent level of service, the IT team at Ballester Hermanos needed to make sure they were using the best technology to support their operations—even during a natural disaster.

Solution

“Before Nutanix, we were using another provider,” said Mr. Leon. “We knew we were making the best decision in implementing Nutanix as a data center platform, and eventually we were able to persuade our management team.”

“CPCorp, Inc. has been our IT Systems Integration company for the last 8 years with an excellent service and they’ve introduced us to Nutanix in 2017 as a scalable, easy to use and resilient platform. The same year we acquired the Nutanix platform. Then, right after this, Hurricane Maria unfortunately passed. It was as if the two storms came together, but we were able to implement the new solution successfully.”

“What I saw with Nutanix was a complete solution,” said Mr. Leon. “My opinion is that whereas other providers are adopting hyperconvergence now, Nutanix was born with it. Nutanix doesn't have to depend on another partner like other technologies. As a result, I believe that Nutanix is far beyond the other companies right now, and that's why we chose them over any other provider when making the infrastructure change.”

Currently, Ballester Hermanos is using three Nutanix clusters: the production environment, a disaster recovery deployment, and a new cluster used by Nutanix Mine with HYCU.

“Everything except the ERP is running on Nutanix,” Mr. Leon explained. “We're talking about the 6 SQL database servers, our exchange server, as well as 5 domain controllers on both sites, DNS and active directory, eCommerce servers, Application servers, etc. Right now, we’re also implementing new things with AI (artificial intelligence).”

Customer Outcomes

Zero downtime

Ballester Hermanos relies on technology to enable its 500 direct employees and 650 indirect employees to fulfil their promises to customers. “We have warehouses running 24 hours a day, and they are not going to wait for me to finish the migration. So for us, the biggest challenge was to migrate all of our data from an existing infrastructure to a new one without disruption,” said Mr. Leon.

“With Nutanix, and the positive experience with CPCorp Inc., we were able to migrate the entire data center to the new technology with no significant issues—even the most critical servers which are the SQL servers and the domain controllers. A large part of the migration success was that we had no downtime at any point.”

Robust reliability

For Ballester Hermanos, continuous uptime means the difference between success and failure when serving communities and businesses across Puerto Rico—especially in times of crisis. Thankfully, the reliability of their Nutanix solution continues to impress the teams that need it.

This includes Mr. Leon: “As everything is going now, the reliability percentage that Nutanix has is very large. Everything is working. Nutanix is always 24/7, both for our customers and for our employees. I can tell you that the Nutanix box has literally never failed since we implemented it in 2017.”

Better backups and rapid recovery

By using HYCU, the only backup and recovery solution purpose built for Nutanix Mine, the IT team at Ballester Hermanos experiences no interruption while backing up SQL servers. There’s also a significant reduction in recovery time, from 8 hours to 15 minutes.

“As soon as CPCorp, Inc. presented the Nutanix Mine and HYCU solution, I quickly realized that this was the best solution for Ballester Hermanos, with everything we wanted to do in terms of disaster recovery and security,” said Mr. Leon. “With our previous solution, there were some flops. I could see that this wouldn’t happen with Nutanix Mine and HYCU, so that's why we moved.”

As the Ballester Hermanos IT team continues to use Nutanix Mine and HYCU to build their backup systems, they’re enjoying the results so far. “Right now, we are building the perfect foundation as we continue to assemble the technology,” said Mr. Leon. “We'll continue to grow. Already, we are very close to achieving the RPO or the RTO that Ballester Hermanos requires in both environments, as much in the ERP as the Windows environment.”

Company cost savings

Another key reason to adopt Nutanix Mine with HYCU came down to cost. “The previous provider increased the cost of enterprise licensing quite a bit. And in addition to that, I had to buy new storage to keep data,” Mr. Leon explained.

“We knew that we needed to either renew the license or buy a different solution. So when Nutanix approached me this year at a conference and presented this new solution, we saw the costs and realized it was a much better option.”

Simple setup

When implementing Nutanix Mine with HYCU, the Ballester Hermanos team was impressed by its simplicity. “It was described to us as a turn-key solution, almost like starting a car,” said Mr. Leon. “I didn’t really believe that could be true. That was until I implemented it myself and saw that within 15–20 minutes the platform was already working in production.”

Time savings for teams

As a busy team with many priorities, Mr. Leon and his colleagues benefit from the time their Nutanix solution can save them thanks to automation.

Now that Nutanix handles many of the time-consuming tasks, Mr. Leon and his team have more time to focus on other priorities. “Before Nutanix, if you wanted to create a LUN in the storage, there were multiple manual processes to go through. With Nutanix, it’s ready in literally one click,” he explained. “I would estimate that our savings in terms of time are more than 60–70%.”

As well as saving time, automation helps to reduce human error. “One mistake in just a single step can mean production grinds to a halt. When the process is automated, everything happens correctly in the background without anyone needing to touch it,” explained Mr. Leon. “We’ve already achieved around 80% automation. There is still much to be done, but I am hopeful we can reach 100%.”

Superior support and training

In terms of technical support, Nutanix has not disappointed. “Nutanix service is excellent. What I see from my perspective is that no matter what kind of ticket you generate, they always give it the highest priority level,” said Mr. Leon. “Every time I call, the knowledge and understanding of the engineers is clear to see.”

“The thing I like most about Nutanix and our IT systems integration company CPCorp, Inc. is that they always give you several solutions. They always give you a plan A, a plan B, and there are times when they even give you a plan C. They also check in on closed tickets, saying: ‘Is everything still working fine? You can contact us at any time, and we will help you.’ It’s one of the best support systems I’ve encountered.”

Mr. Leon also enjoys the continued training that Nutanix offers. “I’ve managed to attend 3 .NEXT conferences every year, as well as taking web classes using the virtual platform. Every day I learn something new, and I believe everything—especially the virtual labs—is really excellent. I also want to become Nutanix certified in the future.”

Next Steps

The next big goal for Ballester Hermanos is to expand to other parts of the world. These plans are currently hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mr. Leon sees many opportunities on the horizon.

“When implementing our technology in different parts of the world, I would like to see a complete replication of all my data centers in all these areas,” he said. “That way, we’ll have a proper disaster recovery solution and, should something terrible happen in one of our facilities, we’ll have the technology to keep the servers running.”

For Ballester Hermanos, the most important thing is that there’s zero downtime. “We need to ensure that no matter what the catastrophe, we still have access to all our data,” said Mr. Leon. “With the support of the right technology, we can continue operating as we have always done, just as we did after Hurricane Maria.”

Mr. Leon and his team continue to research the technology that makes the most sense for Ballester Hermanos—and they see Nutanix being a big part of their future. “As soon as we finish implementing a new technology in Nutanix, it’s as if new doors continue opening, allowing us to expand and do new things. We look forward to continuing to explore.”