There’s a term you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot following the outbreak of COVID-19: business continuity. For some organizations, a lack of business continuity threatens profits. For others, it threatens lives.
Harvest Sherwood is a large, US-based food distributor responsible for moving 32 million pounds of food across the country every week. In the midst of a pandemic, when grocery stores are seeing a dramatic increase in demand, the importance of reliable food distribution is heightened. If shelves are empty, families could go hungry.
This was an unacceptable prospect to Harvest Sherwood. Even before COVID-19, the distributor knew it wanted to improve its service and reliability. The business was already investing in advanced technology to help with order processing, inventory control, truck tracking, market information, product handling, and UPC bar-code scanning, but its aging IT infrastructure was struggling to keep up. Disparate, on-premises servers and legacy apps were causing bottlenecks that were overwhelming the Harvest Sherwood IT team, forcing them to spend their time putting out fires rather than driving the business forward. Improved reliability wasn’t the only goal for this IT update, though – Harvest Sherwood also wanted to enable its employees to work remotely and improve the business’s security by migrating to the Microsoft Azure cloud.
To help with this digital transformation, Harvest Sherwood reached out to Microsoft partner SoftwareONE. Boasting 15 different Gold Partner competencies, more than 30 years of experience working with Microsoft, and an incredible team of 24/7 worldwide experts, SoftwareONE was uniquely positioned to guide Harvest Sherwood through its cloud journey. Together, they set out to migrate Harvest Sherwood’s operations to Microsoft Azure, unlocking the power, scale, and security required to meet the growing food distributor’s needs.
Migrating to the cloud
Prior to the migration, Harvest Sherwood relied on one on-premises SQL database – everything was single instance and it had a very limited backup and recovery plan. With its primary data centers in Cleveland, San Diego, and Detroit, as well as several smaller data centers supporting regional sales operations, Harvest Sherwood had inadvertently assumed enormous risk – one natural disaster could wipe out a catastrophic amount of its data and it would be left with no backup.
To address this, SoftwareONE worked with Harvest Sherwood to accomplish two tasks. The first was to consolidate the distributor’s two Active Directory environments into a single forest. This allowed Harvest Sherwood to eliminate aging hardware and software systems, as well as add security, scalability, performance, and disaster recovery abilities. The second was to consolidate Harvest Sherwood’s 60 servers and eight SQL Servers into Microsoft Azure to support data center operations and remote employees.
Using SQL Always On Enterprise, SoftwareONE gave Harvest Sherwood’s applications high availability to streamline communication with vendors and ensure orders are fulfilled on time. SoftwareONE also established primary and secondary disaster recovery regions, replicating Harvest Sherwood’s data in real time to reduce the risk of data loss.
Finally, SoftwareONE helped Harvest Sherwood empower its remote workforce by deploying Windows Virtual Desktop. Prior to the cloud migration, it was challenging for Harvest Sherwood employees to work from home – workers had limited access to the apps and information they needed to do their jobs and granting remote access posed security challenges. By deploying Windows Virtual Desktop, SoftwareONE empowered Harvest Sherwood’s remote workers with improved functionality, seamless access from anywhere, and best-in-class security.
Throughout the entire migration, SoftwareONE worked closely with the Harvest Sherwood IT team to help them build out their own cloud skillset, enabling them to later manage and update their Microsoft Azure environment independently as their business needs evolve.