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  •  NETAPP.COM/CONTACT

    SUCCESS STORY

    Manufacturing

    AMERICAN SHOWA | PROBLEM SOLVED

    Auto parts manufacturer American Showa needed to accelerate

    production and plug a security risk caused by aging hardware.

    NetApp® HCI keeps the lines rolling by replacing vulnerable

    hardware with a high-speed, high-efficiency solution.

    Reduced risk of downtime, saving up to

    $10,000 per minute

    Up to

    6× faster application

    performance

    NetApp HCI Keeps the Automotive Factory Lines Rolling for American Showa At any factory, downtime is expensive. “If we shut down for a customer such as

    Honda, that’s 10 grand a minute,” says Sean Henry, Senior Manager of auto parts

    manufacturer American Showa. “I’ll tell you what my aspiration is. I want to be able to

    go away on vacation for a week and not worry about getting a phone call. Because

    anybody in IT who is married knows: When that phone rings on vacation, you can

    feel the eyes of your spouse or your partner boring into the side of your head.”

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  • “To me, the NetApp SolidFire Element OS with the

    VMware on top of it was a way to eliminate a large

    underlying vulnerability. It provides a seamless

    extension of the VMware interface. We can get that

    single pane of glass—it’s very easy to administer.” Sean Henry Senior Manager, American Showa

    Henry’s IT team of seven (including himself) makes it a goal to avoid those types of calls, which can be a rude intrusion on a vacation.

    THWARTING CORPORATE PIRATES A recent ransomware attack is one example. The highly sophisticated attack revealed the company’s aging infrastructure. “The people behind the ransomware had a help desk line, where they could tell you how to get bitcoin. These are liter- ally corporate pirates—their whole business strategy is figuring out how to do evil more efficiently,” Henry recalls.

    The attack took out the compa- ny’s domain controllers, purged its local backup, and encrypted some servers, which replicated the encryption to the disaster recovery

    system. The data was backed up to the cloud, but getting 50TB of data back took a great deal of time. “I’m very proud to say that we didn’t miss a shipment to a single customer. We were weak- ened, but still up and running,” Henry says.

    “Attacks like that are going to happen, so the question is, What are you doing to mitigate it?” he says. “I don’t have the resources to devote somebody who spends all day building a better moat. So what I have to do is eliminate underlying vulnerabilities.”

    Henry realized that one under- lying vulnerability was the aging hardware and software in the company’s infrastructure— and that security was not his only problem.

    PRODUCTION PRESSURES NECESSITATE A QUANTUM LEAP American Showa, a U.S. sub- sidiary of Japan-based Showa Corporation, manufactures parts for Harley Davidson, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. To meet customer demands, the company worked with vendors to develop a new manufacturing exe- cution system (MES) that would automatically check the produc- tion data and instantly stop the line to identify a deviant part.

    The MES was also designed to pro- vide the whole genealogy of each part’s settings, so they could be revised in case an issue or quality concern ever arises.

    Unfortunately, the new MES was built with a flawed assumption. It

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  • processed each cycle of program- mable logic controller (PLC) data in 6 seconds, so that it could be ready for the next cycle. But the PLCs actually needed 4 seconds to index the production line and 1 to 1 ½ seconds to send and receive data. That left less than a second for the MES to do its work and respond in time to stop the pro- duction line for the current cycle.

    When American Showa pointed out the response issue, “the ven- dor basically said ‘We don’t scope hardware,’” Henry says.

    He brought the vendor back in to rewrite some of the solution for better performance, finally achiev- ing a 1-second response time, but the system was “fragile.” And frag- ile wasn’t good enough.

    Plus, the system was running on only two of the company’s five assembly lines. “So we weren’t done. We needed that building block—that place where the sys- tem could run effectively,” Henry

    says. “My thought was to essen- tially take a quantum leap.”

    NEW SOLUTION BEATS THE TICKING CLOCK Henry met with the NetApp team, who recommended NetApp HCI as the platform to consolidate aging hardware in the company’s infra- structure into one secure and scal- able private cloud. The team also suggested that another NetApp HCI might provide an efficient high-speed platform for MES.

    “I made a phone call from that meeting to the production engi- neering person in charge of MES, to tell him I had found our solu- tion,” Henry recalls.

    But the clock was ticking.

    “That was in January. In February, Showa in Japan sent guys over who said ‘You have until the end of February to get this thing running, or we’re pulling the plug,” Henry says. At that point, MES was a $1.5 million investment and more than

    2 years behind schedule. “Showa Corporation isn’t going to care that the vendor didn’t spec the MES correctly. All they’re going to know is you couldn’t make it happen.”

    DELIVERING ON THE PERFORMANCE PROMISE It was time to deliver. Working with SHI Consulting, Henry’s seven-per- son team started moving MES to the NetApp HCI box. The new platform proved to be the boost the system needed for subsecond responses—returning responses in as little as 0.3 seconds. “In a lot of ways, the hyperconverged infrastructure was the difference between having an investment that is moving forward and a dead project,” Henry says.

    The second NetApp HCI box, run- ning VMware, was brought in to provide a more efficient and secure infrastructure. “To me, NetApp SolidFire Element OS with VMware on top of it was a way to eliminate a large underlying vulnerability,” Henry says. “It provides a seamless

    “You get so used to fighting those fires that

    you’re not even aware of how much energy

    you’re putting into them until they’re gone.” Sean Henry Senior Manager, American Showa

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  • extension of the VMware interface. We can get that single pane of glass—it’s very easy to administer.” A simpler interface provides con- sistent quality and tracks defects more easily.

    The company’s previous system often required server reboots and extensive overhead. “You get so used to fighting those fires that you’re not even aware of how much energy you’re putting into them until they’re gone,” Henry says. “For virtually every applica- tion that we have moved to the new system, our users have noted a performance improvement.

    Some things are definitely running twice as fast. Also, we did pay a sizeable set of maintenance fees on the old array—so basically, we’re getting new performance for what we were paying to keep the status quo.”

    COST SAVINGS ARE JUST THE BEGINNING The new solution is also more energy efficient, using less power while generating less heat. With the reduced electrical load, Henry anticipates a 50% drop in server room electricity needs and a 70% drop in heat generation. This comes at a good time for

    American Showa, which needs to replace its HVAC units to comply with government regulations. “So now, we will potentially be able to spend less money because we have a more efficient infrastructure from a heat and electrical stand- point,” Henry says.

    SOLUTION COMPONENTS

    NETAPP PRODUCTS

    NetApp HCI Enterprise-Scale Hyper Converged Infrastructure

    NetApp SolidFire® Element® OS

    LEARN MORE

    netapp.com/us/products/data-management-software/element-os.aspx

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