Dole Europe GmbH realized it needed to start operating in the cloud, but while its European HQ is located in Hamburg, Germany, its entire datacenter was located in Sweden.Solutions Cloud, Cloud Adoption & Migration, Public Cloud Platforms Cloud, Microsoft Azure
Dole Europe is the European division of Dole Food, one of the world’s biggest providers of fresh fruit. Dole Europe imports a large range of fresh fruit from its own agricultural businesses in the Dole Food Company and from independent producers around the world. Dole Europe also provides retailers with innovative solutions for services and products. The Dole brand stands worldwide for highest product quality, innovation, research and development and a more sustainable and socially responsible production.
“The rapid results were all down to our business relationship, which is based on collaboration and cooperation – given the tight turnaround times, there's no way it could have worked otherwise.”
The obstacles they faced
The fruit business has seen a huge transformation in recent years. What was previously a highly regulated trade in goods has increasingly become a free market. In order to save costs and gear itself more towards the future, Dole Europe GmbH decided to move the company into the Microsoft® Azure® cloud.
There was just one major challenge: Though its European headquarters were located in Hamburg, the company's entire data center was located on the premises of a service provider in Sweden. This resulted in complex workflows and high costs.
“From a business point of view, it's fantastic to see how much money we've saved by bringing in this new solution.”
How we helped
Dole commissioned the Hamburg-based company Bright Skies to migrate part of its own data center to the cloud. Bright Skies, a Rackspace Technology company, headed up the project and provided an entire service package right from the start, which included a Cloud Readiness Assessment, a feasibility study and budget plan, and technical workshops for defining the target architecture. The project's ambitious plan: to migrate 100% of the VMs to Azure.
From October to December 2017, Bright Skies transferred a total of 80 VMs to Azure – half of these via lift-and-shift. The remainder were built from scratch. "We were faced with an ambitious task, one that other solution providers had already struggled with," says Björn Klein, Bright Skies Project Manager. "On the customer side, we noticed that a lot of ERP systems with relatively old databases had accumulated over the years."
But the team pulled together and managed to find a solution, transferring all other services in full to the Azure cloud between 2018 and mid-2019. This was a Herculean task – after all, this project's monthly Azure consumption is in the five-figure range. In addition, the team was able to integrate a more cost-effective central firewall, as requested by the customer. And to save the customer any concerns over technical issues that may arise in the future, Bright Skies' Managed Services division will keep the new solution running smoothly.
What we achieved together
Overall, it just goes to show that even a project of this magnitude can be pulled off in a very short space of time if every employee gives 110%. The team managed particular challenges, such as the high number of transactions or outdated ERP systems, just as successfully as they managed the testing of systems during ongoing operations.
The customer was also extremely satisfied with the result. Umbach emphasized that all his discussions with Bright Skies felt like regular conversations among peers. The focus was not on selling products, but on finding a solution together.
Moving to the cloud means less hassle for the business, lower costs in terms of managing infrastructure, increased productivity and the ability to adapt IT resources to meet demand. This demonstrated that it's entirely possible to achieve the same great IT performance, even with fewer resources.
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