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In the last two decades, modern agribusiness has gone through a technological transformation nearly as dramatic as the industrial revolution of more than 200 years ago. Think of it as moving from a team of oxen and a wooden plow to an electrohydraulic utility tractor – in less than 20 years.
As farming and ranching increasingly rely on information services for recordkeeping and trend data, one Minnesota-based company is experiencing phenomenal growth. MetaFarms, a major Software-as-aService (SaaS) provider in the animal agriculture business, provides the tools that hundreds of pork and poultry producers from the U.S. to Canada to Australia use every day to help them make better business decisions. What they lacked was a reliable data backup and disaster recovery solution.
Partnering for business results
“As we got bigger, we gained larger, more complicated customers,” says Jeff Duffy, Vice President of Operations for MetaFarms. What’s more, any downtime in their production environment could mean thousands of dollars in lost revenue for its producers.
Initially, the company turned to Sungard Availability Services for storage capacity with colocation and backup of its critical business processes in Minneapolis. But with each new customer came growing demand for strict compliance related to industry regulatory compliance and disaster recovery. They needed a reliable partner with a global footprint who could guide them through the growth phase and set them on a path for success. MetaFarms reached out to Sungard AS for more.
MetaFarms decided to move into the Sungard AS datacenter realm. Duffy knew that if something went wrong in its self-hosted environment, their business and clients would be drastically impacted.
“The data literally changes every minute of every day. We added asynchronous data transfer so any data posted to our live production site is re-written instantaneously to a second database located out-ofstate. This is very important to us,” Duffy adds. “We didn’t physically buy anything – just the ability to use the services. We are using several services that take snapshots of our data and shoot it directly to stand-by systems.”
MetaFarms selected Sungard AS Colocation services for production; Recover to Cloud Vaulting; Recover to Cloud Server Replication; and Disaster Recovery. In addition, MetaFarms uses EVault1 on-premise software and offsite Cloud services. Today, all customer data is kept within their private Cloud data center and housed within Sungard AS.
“Sungard AS and EVault helped us set up a hybrid Cloud solution,” Duffy commented. “They were able to build a system that not only worked dayto-day, but also brought in cost efficiency. During the testing, it proved to be perfect.”
With the support of Sungard AS, MetaFarms’ business has grown with a best-practice, world class data center; the business now supports nearly one-third of all pork producers in the U.S. The company has made a large investment in the underlying technology for providing software services by developing a robust set of web-services and a strong database foundation for its applications.
As a result, MetaFarms is growing a strong, diverse, and global customer base that includes some of the largest protein businesses in the world – as well as some of the smallest.
“Things are going very well for us,” says Duffy. “We are managing multiple sites, relying on the experts at Sungard AS and EVault to do it for us using a virtualized environment. Thankfully, we’ve never had to declare a disaster.”
MetaFarms plans to translate their software into other languages, expanding their international footprint. As MetaFarms looks forward to the next phase of growth, they will continue to turn to Sungard AS.
“We can prove that MetaFarms software applications work better than anything else in the industry,” Duffy concludes.