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Litehouse Foods Augments Their Team Through Automation and Assures Performance Through Uncertain Times

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In just the first week, Turbonomic identified 400 opportunities to improve performance and optimize for efficiency.

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Software continuously making resourcing decisions to assure performance, augmenting teams with intelligent automation.

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Peace of mind with AI always keeping critical systems running optimally, even under increasing and dynamic demand.

About Litehouse

  • Innovating since 1958 to build a great company that enhances their customers' eating experience
  • A leader in refrigerated salad dressings, dips, cheese & other innovative consumer packaged goods
  • 100% employee owned, ensuring that everyone is driven and motivated to deliver fantastic products

 

Visit litehousefoods.com

A Prosperous Business Must Run Smoothly 24/7/365. Downtime is Not an Option.

Litehouse has been in the business of great tasting foods since 1958. With a restaurant and a blue cheese salad dressing so good customers would bring empty jars to take home, Ed Hawkins Sr. and his family launched an enterprise. Over the subsequent decades, the business would become a leading producer and marketer of salad dressings, cheeses, dips, sauces, apple cider, and freeze dried herbs. Being 100% employee owned has ensured that everyone on the Litehouse team is driven and motivated, creating fantastic products as well as giving back to the communities in which they operate.

For Ben Budge, Senior System Administrator, Litehouse’s exploding growth has been a key motivator for finding new and innovative ways to ensure the performance of their business-critical applications—applications that support plant and manufacturing operations—while augmenting his team through automation.

“The PLC (programmable logic controller), the recipes, the orders, shipping logistics, and the systems we use to analyze data to make the smart business decisions—it’s all got to be running smoothly 24/7/365,” says Budge. “Downtime is not a tolerated thing.”

“DRS is great and does an okay job, simple analytics. But even with DRS in a highly aggressive mode it didn’t seem to optimize in a logical fashion. It just load-balanced resources. We wanted a solution that would take the burden of judgement calls off our plate.”

Ben Budge
Senior System Administrator
Litehouse

Continuous Change in the Environment Requires a New Approach to Automation

The tools that the industry traditionally relies on just weren’t cutting it for Budge. “DRS is great and does an okay job, simple analytics. But even with DRS in a highly aggressive mode it didn’t seem to optimize in a logical fashion. It just load-balanced resources,” says Budge. “We wanted a solution that would take the burden of judgement calls off our plate.” With their rapidly growing environment, they wanted something smarter—a solution that could give them the answers to questions like:

  • When do we need to provision more capacity because the cluster is running hot? How much?
  • When do we make a purchase for additional hardware?
  • When are our workloads not getting the resources they need to perform (or getting too much)?
  • When and how should they be redistributed to mitigate these risks?

“Our environment is always changing, always expanding as we either buy new companies or new plants. We were constantly challenged with balancing infrastructure cost and performance. That’s what led us to look for a solution that we could automate,” says Budge. “When you grow you can leverage automation to solve a lot of problems—effectively managing resources to assure performance is one of them.”

“Our environment is always changing, always expanding as we either buy new companies or new plants. We were constantly challenged with balancing infrastructure cost and performance. That’s what led us to look for a solution that we could automate. When you grow you can leverage automation to solve a lot of problems—effectively managing resources to assure performance is one of them.”

Ben Budge
Senior System Administrator
Litehouse

“Being able to know that something is there making decisions in terms of performance is great… and not someone, something, right. It’s an AI, but it’s got its own personality, I guess.”

Ben Budge
Senior System Administrator
Litehouse

An AI Makes Resource Decisions that Assure Performance, While Reducing Costs

Today Litehouse has taken every opportunity to automate Turbonomic and realize the value of software intelligently and dynamically resourcing their applications. Budge and his team started with automating VM placement and found that Turbo went beyond simple load balancing, but truly matching demand to supply, assuring performance, while also being able to consolidate workloads.

Next he and his team started right-sizing VMs with Turbonomic. “Before we started right-sizing with Turbo we were in a position where we needed to purchase more ram for a couple clusters and provision a new host to our dev cluster. With Turbo, we have been safely driving down our resource usage.” Within the first week, Turbonomic was able to safely reduce existing overprovisioning, while also preventing impending risks.

“We reduced our Dev Footprint, now instead of needing an additional host, we have a spare host that can be powered down and removed from Dev,” Budge adds. Additionally, the team saw the following results, just in the first week:

Reclaiming Extra Capacity from:

  • Production: ~350GB Memory, ~25 cores
  • DMZ/Monitoring Cluster: ~ 75GB Memory, ~10cores
  • Remote Site: ~ 24 GB Memory and ~12 cores, on average per cluster

And prevented impending VM overprovisioning, as well as Memory congestion and overpriced workloads. “In just the first 7 days Turbo executed over 400 actions,” says Budge. “Being able to know that something is there making decisions in terms of performance is great… and not someone, something, right. It’s an AI, but it’s got its own personality, I guess.”

“Ben is great. He’s always thinking about how to augment his time through automation,” says Rachel Fagut, Account Executive at Turbonomic. “He’s using Turbonomic exactly as it was designed to be used.”

“Ben is great. He’s always thinking about how to augment his time through automation. He’s using Turbonomic exactly as it was designed to be used.”

Rachel Fagut
Account Executive
Turbonomic

“Turbo has been performing very well and has been an integral part of keeping our operations running during this pandemic. It’s nice to have the peace of mind, that we have a system that can keep our critical systems running optimally even under increased demand.”

Ben Budge
Senior System Administrator
Litehouse

Peace of Mind in Uncertain Times

When Coronavirus hit, Litehouse, like the rest of the world, was facing the unknown. Their various business channels saw dramatic ups and downs, and likewise the demands on the data center fluctuated even more than usual. Closed restaurants weren’t ordering bottles of dressing and lunch spots weren’t serving salads with dressing in pouches. Likewise, demand decreased when schools closed and other contracts shut down. But in-store purchases skyrocketed with so many flocking to grocery stores for essential items as they took refuge in their homes. On top of all these fluctuations in product demand, Litehouse’s employees had to transition to remote work.

“As we all began working from home, we weren't sure what this was going to look like. What are we going to have to worry about? And it became pretty apparent, not a whole lot. That’s how Turbo has been a part of it,” says Budge. “It’s been a part of our COVID strategy—being ready for anything—from the start.” Litehouse has been resilient in business and, thanks to Ben and his team, resilient in IT operations as well. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Litehouse has been able to continue its tradition of giving back, supporting local food banks and other community initiatives.

For Ben and his team, their diligence in leveraging automation to assure performance and increase their productivity is paying off. “Turbo has been performing very well and has been an integral part of keeping our operations running during this pandemic. It’s nice to have the peace of mind, that we have a system that can keep our critical systems running optimally even under increased demand.”

“As we all began working from home, we weren't sure what this was going to look like. What are we going to have to worry about? And it became pretty apparent, not a whole lot. That’s how Turbo has been a part of it. It’s been a part of our COVID strategy—being ready for anything—from the start.

Ben Budge
Senior System Administrator
Litehouse

Integrating Turbonomic into Processes for Seamless Business Operations

With dynamic application resourcing part of Litehouse’s day-to-day IT operations, Ben is now looking to integrate automation into their server build processes. As they formalize the methods by which Dev and Line of Business teams request resources through a portal, Turbonomic will be running in the background validating that the infrastructure can accommodate the request; and if not, determine exactly how much additional capacity must be procured.

“We want to officially commoditize compute infrastructure, it’s a consumable commodity with an intrinsic dollar amount attached to the request. We need to know what that dollar amount is when we make a build, as well as, is there room to grow? Or, do we have too much capacity allocated ‘here’ and not enough ‘there.’ We’re looking forward to doing even more to ensure seamless business operations with Turbonomic.”

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