Organic Farming Grows On Modern IT

In this video, members from the IT team at Organic Valley explain the cost, time and performance benefits of modernizing their data operations with Nutanix.

By Ken Kaplan

By Ken Kaplan November 1, 2023

Organic Valley is a family farming cooperative that produces and sells high-quality organic dairy, vegetables and eggs in the United States. For the past three decades, the cooperative has remained committed to “growing food the right way” to create a “healthier, more sustainable food system.”

Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Overall U.S. sales of organic food products were an estimated $26.9 billion in 2010 (inflation-adjusted to 2021 dollars) and reached $52.0 billion in 2021, according to the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ, 2022), according to publicly available data shared by the Economic Research Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Statista reported that global sales of organic foods amounted to even more, reaching about 133 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

Demand for organic foods continues to grow, so Organic Valley recently modernized the data technologies they use to manage their cooperative. 

“One of the first decisions I have in my head is, what would a farmer think if they saw that this is what I'm spending their dollars on?” said Joshua Krzych, vice president of IT.

Source: Nutanix

In this video, Krzych and Nick Korte, director of technology operations at Organic Valley discuss the benefits they’re seeing after moving from traditional three-tier IT architecture to software-define operations powered by Nutanix. 

They talk about making cost-effective decisions that benefit their network of family farms. The switch to Nutanix software was driven by the desire to simplify their IT infrastructure, reduce management time and minimize the risk of system failures. 

The move brought significant performance improvements, reducing some maintenance activities from hours to minutes. This also allowed their IT team to broaden their focus without needing deep specialization. 

Looking forward, the team is ready to fully transition to the Nutanix platform and eliminate technical debt accrued from relying on older IT infrastructure for too long.

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Transcript:

Joshua Krzych: I am Joshua Kryzch. I'm Vice President of IT operations at Organic Valley, so we have about 2,000 small family farms at ebbs and flows from year to year. When I'm making a big decision, such as when we purchase Nutanix, one of the first decisions I have in my head is, what would a farmer think if they saw that this is what I'm spending their dollars on? Because in the end, we're trying to make them the most profitable small family farmers out there in the world. That's what we want to do to make sure they're sustainable and can continue supporting their families and their livestock.

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Nick Korte: My name is Nick Korte and I'm the Director of Technology Operations. When we went to Nutanix, it was a decision around. We went from a traditional three-tier infrastructure, and it worked really well for us for a long time, but we realized that this was a lot less management, a lot less backend nights of doing firmware updates, so simplifying it for our folks and giving them more opportunities to kind of stretch into what could be with Nutanix, whether it's files or some sort of database as a service operation. It just opens up the door for us.

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Joshua Krzych: Our current ERP solution is there, our warehouse management systems, our supply chain analysis.

Nick Korte: I look at it from the people perspective of we were spending our network teams and our storage teams and our compute teams we're all working weekends and just doing updates. There was a fear of breaking something. You have a much more complex infrastructure. When we went to Nutanix, it was like, Hey, we have an opportunity to simplify and we have an opportunity to take that time back for ourselves. If I remember right,

Joshua Krzych: There were some DBA database maintenance activities that happened nightly that usually took several hours to complete before and after we moved over to Nutanix. It took minutes, maybe not five minutes, but it was way under an hour. Very impressive performance boost there. Moving to the Nutanix platform has really allowed our techs to focus more on engineers, to focus more broadly without having to deeply specialize in an area and then create a backup as well with someone else on their team so they can take a vacation.

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Nick Korte: Really, support was the main thing that we were looking at, and that's what really showed Nutanix rose to the top because of the support they work with the hardware, they're really close with their vendors, so it just was a much better experience, and to me, that's an easy investment for our employees. Again, getting back to how they live their lives. I don't want them sitting on the phones every night or coming in on a weekend because they can't figure it out. I want 'em to be at home with their families and enjoying life. I think the main goal will be to get onto the platform a hundred percent, get rid of some of that technical debt that we've had and utilized in the past to try and save a couple of bucks, and now that we've seen the value and being on Nutanix, I think that that's a great opportunity for us to pivot towards that.

Ken Kaplan is Editor in Chief for The Forecast by Nutanix. Find him on X @kenekaplan.

Sabrina Leung produced this video. She is a customer marketing manager at Nutanix.

© 2023 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. For additional legal information, please go here.

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