India’s Chitale Dairy partners VMware to develop cloud-based infrastructure

India’s Chitale Dairy partners VMware to develop cloud-based infrastructure
Image credit: Chitale Dairy

It has containerised key applications, runs them on Kubernetes clusters.

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India’s Chitale Dairy, located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, has launched a “Grass to Glass” cloud-based program, in partnership with VMware, that aims to digitise every aspect of its business from animal feed procurement to delivery of dairy products to customers.

Chitale Dairy, CEO and CTO, Vishvas Chitale, told iTnews Asia, that the company has been working with VMware since 2015 when it first launched its “Cows to Cloud” program to help boost production in the small farms that supply milk to the dairy.

The Grass to Glass program is a follow-up which is focused on app modernisation, Chitale said.

The dairy’s development team, working with VMware partner, Sunfire Technologies, has containerised key applications that run on Kubernetes clusters drawn from the VMware Tanzu portfolio.

Apart from containerising existing apps, Sunfire has helped Chitale implement an agile DevOps methodology and build continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.

The company is using VMware Tanzu Standard Edition as it provides an enterprise-ready Kubernetes environment for newly-modernised apps.

The company uses VMware vSAN for virtualised storage, which, together with VMware vSphere's management capabilities and security, allows for seamless data transfer and interaction between applications.

Chitale dairy runs apps not only on premises but also in the public cloud or edge environments using VMware Tanzu, and its DevOps teams have gained the ability to seamlessly shift apps among different clouds without rewriting code, Chitale said.

Foundation for hybrid cloud

VMware Cloud Foundation augments the capabilities of the dairy’s existing private cloud and allows the dairy’s IT teams to automate management tasks while putting in place the foundation for a hybrid cloud, he added.

In order to manage multi-site clusters and application communications, the company uses Tanzu Service Mesh which enables automatic scaling across Kubernetes clusters and clouds to meet shifting demand.

The VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer allows the team to deploy, manage, scale and monitor application service engines across any cloud, Chitale said.

Chitale Dairy manages and monitors its factory systems data from its data centre and uses the VMware Pulse IoT data lake to build analytics applications for proactive systems management.

It has also deployed the VMware Pulse IoT Center solution and hyper-converged infrastructure. This ensures security at the IoT sensor level for the dairy.

Cows to Cloud

In 2015 Chitale Dairy launched its Cows to Cloud program to help boost production in the farms that supply milk to the dairy.

The program uses RFID tags on cow collars and IoT technology to collect data about the health and milk productivity of 50,000 plus cows, owned by more than 10,000 dairy farmers.

The dairy integrates and analyses this data using its VMware infrastructure and then relays insights and to-do lists to the dairy farmers in real time through SMS.

Information supplied to farmers through this service includes (cow) health monitoring, suggestions about artificial insemination, and complete blood profiling of each animal to identify possible diseases or nutritional deficiencies.

Chitale said the company has managed to build out a “very reliable” infrastructure using VMware technology.

“For example, we did not need to shut down our VMware ESXi hypervisor for maintenance for over three years, that is the kind of high availability we have with the hardware,” he said.

Chitale said the modernisation has helped the dairy accelerate the delivery of new capabilities and boost efficiency “while providing the flexibility to capitalise on multi-cloud environments in the future”.

Expansion plans

The dairy is in the process of expanding its product portfolio vertically and horizontally.

Chitale said instead of just selling milk, “which has a very short shelf-life”, the company is developing milk-based products like cheese, butter, ghee and sweets.

The company is also moving into non-dairy agricultural end products such as cookies and other savouries.

The company has developed various micro apps like Chitale Food, Chitale Agro and Chitale Delights.

“We are developing both business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer applications and we want to look into application delivery,” Chitale said.

This will require a lot of statistical management and demand forecasting and so we are trying to create everything as a cloud service using a micro-service architecture, he added.

The dairy plans to implement VMware Tanzu Mission Control to streamline Kubernetes management.

This will allow it to gain a centralised hub for administering consistent policies across environments, even as the dairy extends into multiple clouds.

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