News | June 19, 2008

Food Distributor Nicholas & Company Increases Data Center Energy Efficiency With Help From IBM And Vision Solutions


Nicholas & Company is building a model data center that delivers significantly more computing power per watt. The Salt Lake City based, 500 employee, food distributor has increased its computing capabilities while holding energy costs level by virtualizing applications, and consolidating its servers and storage on IBM systems.

With help from IBM and IBM Premier Business Partner Vision Solutions, Nicholas & Company has also added new capabilities and improved the availability of its information technology infrastructure, and helped protect vital company assets by installing a world-class backup and recovery system.

Nicholas & Company, which delivers food and other products to customers ranging from the smallest restaurants to the largest national fast-food chains, operates a 24X7, 215,000 square foot facility and moves up to 600,000 cases of food every week. The company chose the IBM BladeCenter H platform as an integral part of its business, consolidating 12 separate servers on to the platform. IBM BladeCenter H is an integrated solution designed for consolidation, virtualization and top performance. To realize further efficiencies, Nicholas & Company is running virtualization technology from VMware on IBM HS21 blade servers in the BladeCenter H.

"As an independently-owned, mid-sized company, Nicholas & Company is focused on meeting the needs of our clients while operating efficiently. We have been very happy with the built-in redundancy and energy-efficiency of the IBM BladeCenter H and expect continued success," said Russell Erickson, Nicholas & Company system administrator. The company's new data center also uses an IBM System i 525 that provides storage for the BladeCenter system and runs the corporate Web site, intranet, extranet, the company's email system, and a new voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone system.

The i525 was introduced by IBM one year ago to help small and medium businesses simplify IT environments. In 2008, IBM introduced the first of a new generation of IBM Power Systems that will provide IBM System i and System p clients a single, unified line of servers with simplified pricing, increased application choice and reduced energy and administration costs.

IBM's work with Nicholas & Company is an example of how IBM is helping clients develop a new enterprise data center, which offers dramatic improvements in IT efficiency and provides for rapid deployment of new IT services to support future business growth. IBM is helping clients move to new enterprise data centers by focusing on best practice around virtualization, green IT, service management and cloud computing.

Nicholas & Company is planning for the future by choosing a blade platform that can meet its needs for both x86 and i (formerly i5/OS) applications. For clients with similar needs, IBM offers an i Edition Express for BladeCenter S, an attractive option for clients to simplify the integration of their i and x86 applications in one BladeCenter.

Nicholas & Company also improved its business resiliency, key to maintaining its reputation for excellent customer service, by migrating its tape-based systems to iTERA HA an innovative business recovery solution developed by Irvine, California-based Vision Solutions.

"We used to back up our data overnight on Saturdays. It took six hours. That process has been eliminated," said Erickson. "Using iTERA HA, we are up 24/7."

Nicholas & Co. has moved from an estimated recovery time measured in days to a continuously available environment with IBM Power Systems, BladeCenter, and iTERA HA for logical replication.

"Critical systems, such as Web access for customers, warehouse management systems, and a mobile sales force, demand around-the-clock access. Any delays in the availability of the core applications can jeopardize the business of companies like Nicholas & Company causing customers to turn to competitors," said Vision Solutions' CTO and Executive Vice President, Alan Arnold. "Our innovative, affordable and easy-to-use HA brand, Vision's iTERA HA was built around the trusted IBM Power Systems Platform and keeps business-critical information like Nicholas & Company's data continuously protected and available."

Yet another Vision Solutions' benefit is that new application development is now easier since it can be performed in an isolated test environment on a backup server rather than on the production server. "Looking ahead, iTERA HA will also help when we expand: we'll move one of our servers to separate location and use it for disaster recovery," Erickson explained.

IBM has more than 40 years of business continuity and disaster recovery experience. Click here for an interactive brochure on our offerings specifically designed for the mid market.

About IBM
For out more about: IBM Express Advantage Portfolio, IBM BladeCenter, IBM Power Systems.

About Vision Solutions
Founded in 1990, Vision Solutions, Inc. is the world's leading provider of high availability, disaster recovery and data management solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. With a portfolio that spans the industry's most innovative and trusted HA brands, Vision's iTERA, MIMIX and ORION solutions keep business-critical information continuously protected and available. Affordable and easy to use, Vision products help to ensure business continuity, increase productivity, reduce operating costs and satisfy compliance requirements. As IBM's largest high availability Premier Business Partner, Vision Solutions oversees a global network of business partners and services and certified support professionals to help our customers achieve their business goals. Privately held by Thoma Cressey Bravo, Inc., Vision Solutions is headquartered in Irvine, California with offices worldwide. For more information visit:

About Nicholas & Company, Inc.
Nicholas & Company, Inc. is a preeminent regional independent broad line foodservice distributor that delivers food and other products to customers ranging from the smallest restaurants to national fast-food chains. For more information visit:

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