Gruppo Granarolo Transitions To Open Source Infrastructure With Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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May 2, 2011

Customer: Granarolo Group S.p.A.

Geography: EMEA
Country: Italy

Business Challenge:

To eliminate vendor lock-in and reduce licensing costs

Migration Path:

UNIX to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®



Red Hat Enterprise Linux


Storage: 2 EMC Celerra NS-480 systems with 45TB of data, 2 Data Domain DD-660 systems for storage deduplication and backup Servers: 5 Dell PowerEdge M910 Blade servers, 2 Dell PowerEdge M710 Blade servers, 4 Dell PowerEdge M610 Blade servers


Reduced licensing costs compared to proprietary operating systems and achieved overall cost savings; achieved the ability to run its software stack on commodity hardware


The Granarolo Group is an Italian food company founded in Bologna in 1957. Since its inception, Granarolo’s development strategy has been based on the comprehensive management of the production chain. It also operates in the Italian domestic market providing fresh milk and organic dairy products. In 2007, the Granaraolo Group was ranked fourth in the main food and beverage list of top, 100% Italian companies (by turnover achieved in modern distribution channels) and is now one of the leading companies in the mass consumption market. Since the early 1990s, the Granarolo Group has been structured into two distinct and mutually supporting subsidiaries: Granlatte, a cooperative of milk producers that operate in the agricultural sector and collect fresh material, and Granarolo S.p.A., a holding company that processes and sells the products. The Granarolo Group is unique in the Italian and European dairy and cheese market because of its control over the entire production chain, which allows it to implement, together with the producers, targeted and quality-driven planning. Therefore, the Granarolo Group has become a strong reference point for agricultural and livestock farms in Italy. It is the only company that truly claims to produce milk made in Italy, while also protecting Italy’s agricultural food heritage and land. The Granarolo Group production chain includes around 1,000 producers of milk, five processing plants, and more than 1,900 employees.

Business Challenge:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux was first implemented at Granarolo in 2008 but was used only for certain projects, such as its corporate website ( In 2010 the company decided to redesign its IT infrastructure and adopt an advanced open source solution in order to create a cost-efficient infrastructure that could scale to support its business growth. Granarolo was also looking to break free from proprietary lock-in, reduce licensing costs, and migrate to an operating system that runs on commodity hardware. Given its background with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company began its search with this solution.


The project was initiated in June 2010 when Granarolo Group designed the framework of the new IT infrastructure. The Granarolo Group’s comprehensive tender included PCs, servers, storage, an operating system, and support services, including installation and setup of the new infrastructure. Following an evaluation phase, the Granarolo Group decided to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the operating system of choice for all of its missioncritical environments.

“There were three major reasons that the Granarolo Group adopted Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Primarily, it was the desire to break free from proprietary vendor lock-in and be able to use servers based on Intel processors, instead of proprietary processors required by the previous UNIX operating system. The fact that our ERP system and database were certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux also played an important role due to the success of the existing Red Hat implementation at the company,” said Roberto Poli, ICT manager, Granarolo Group S.p.A.Following the migration of the ERP system, as well as its production, test, and development environments from the existing platform to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the solution went into production in January 2011. “Once we had made the decision to move to a homogenised environment, Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the obvious choice. Its compatibility with existing systems and the organisation’s familiarity with the technology ensured peace of mind,” said Poli.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been installed on virtual machines running the ERP system and on physical machines that support the cluster database,” said Poli. “Fine tuning of the infrastructure has been the most challenging task, and we dedicated a couple of months to complete the implementation. Although we have been in production for a relatively short time, we can say we are happy and satisfied with the results.”


By migrating to Red Hat’s subscription-based business model, Granarolo Group has significantly reduced its operating costs compared to proprietary operating systems. The subscription includes ongoing services and support to guarantee that Granarolo Group’s systems remain secure, reliable, and up-to-date. The company was also able to standardise its infrastructure on commodity hardware and can now access a wide range of hardware vendors when purchasing servers.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux enhances the scalability of our infrastructure, which can now grow in line with the demands of our business without the need for continuous re-design. It also ensures consistency of the operating system and the database,” said Poli. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux has become our platform of choice and will feature prominently in our future plans, which include the delivery of new application services.”

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