Improving Application Performance, Simplifying Management, and Increasing Scalability with an HCI-Based Platform


I have always been someone who believes in looking ahead. The right technology can offer unseen possibilities, so I keep my eyes open for anything with the potential to move us forward and make us better. Taking a risk on a new idea can lead to powerful advances in our operations or capabilities—regardless of the industry.

Himalaya Wellness was founded in 1930. We are one of the world’s most trusted herbal brands, offering people holistic wellness solutions, based on Ayurvedic practices, and backed by modern science. We grew from being a pharmaceutical company to become a global herbal health and personal care organization with nearly 500 products sold worldwide. And today, we continue to deliver on our promise to bring wellness to every home and happiness to every heart.

As the General Manager, IT Infrastructure and Security, I am responsible for making decisions about technologies, hardware architecture, and security products. My team manages the technical backbone of the entire business, including multiple data centers in India, cloud and the Middle East. We control everything from our office in Bangalore.

The Difficulty Managing a Complex Operation

There are costs and benefits of being nearly a century old with employees around the globe. As you might imagine, the size and complexity of our operation mean a complicated infrastructure. For this reason, part of my job has been searching for innovations that simplify our systems and make them easier to manage.

Taking a risk on a new idea can lead to powerful advances in business operations or capabilities—regardless of the industry. #NutanixStories

Under our old architecture, it was incredibly time-consuming to provision storage and other resources. Patches, upgrades, and regular maintenance were also labor-intensive. We regularly had difficulties integrating vendors, firmware, and software. It was also challenging to scale or adjust our operation to changing conditions.

But perhaps the biggest issue was troubleshooting. Our traditional three-tier architecture was not designed to find problems easily. Anytime there was an issue, we had to examine three different hardware systems. Something as simple as slower-than-usual performance could potentially take our entire staff days to discover the source and correct the issue. Since our mission-critical apps ran on this infrastructure, any delay led to many complaints.

Our team is small, and at times we were barely able to manage the existing system. As the company continued to grow, we saw we would either have to increase our staff or dramatically change our infrastructure to a platform that offered a centralized view of our entire architecture.

A Smooth Transition to Hyperconvergence

When looking ahead, it’s always useful to have a partner who can open your eyes to new possibilities that you may not have seen otherwise. Thanks to our technology partners and OEM, Himalaya Wellness has had great success finding and incorporating innovations into our operations over the years.  when it came time to upgrade, I knew we were ready for something completely new, moving to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

The move made complete sense. Unlike our old traditional architecture, hyperconvergence offered greater performance, agility, scalability, and reliability. In addition, this structure would provide a more cloud-friendly environment that would be important for our future operations. After considering several possibilities, our team ultimately chose Nutanix

Our management trust my decisions relating to technology, and that support made it much easier to sell the idea of overhauling our operation to the rest of the leadership team. In addition to helping us find the best vendor for our needs, Nutanix and its technology partner also worked with us to arrive at a total cost of ownership (TCO)—and it also helped that the total cost of switching to Nutanix would be lower over the long run. 

We began the migration in 2019 using Nutanix Move. Our implementation partner had already completed a similar Nutanix migration, so their comprehensive understanding of the data and the implementation process made the entire experience seamless. With the help of our implementation partner, we were able to move our virtual machines onto the new infrastructure. During the installation, we encountered an IP address conflict, which the Nutanix team quickly fixed. A few months later, Nutanix helped us diagnose and correct a network issue. That was it—as migrations go, this was one of the smoothest in my experience.

Expected and Unexpected Benefits of the Nutanix Solution

Any change comes with risk, especially when making the leap to something new. But with Nutanix, we did not encounter hidden costs that made us regret our decision. The engineering and customer service teams at Nutanix proved every bit as valuable as the platform itself. Three years in, our hyperconverged infrastructure-based platform has demonstrated the expected reliability and flexibility far beyond traditional architecture.

However, we also experienced unexpected surprises resulting from features we either underestimated or performed far beyond our expectations. The migration was so seamless that the end-users didn’t notice, but they did witness the performance enhancement that followed. Business applications suddenly ran much faster and with no latency. We went from multiple complaints a week to complete silence. Anyone who works in IT knows that things are running smoothly when the phones don’t ring. Every moment that passes without a staff complaint is a compliment to our new infrastructure.

We went into the process with a desire to retain our old hypervisor, but we were so impressed with Nutanix AHV that we happily switched. Now, our provisioning time has been reduced by 40% and we’re saving money by no longer needing license to our old hypervisor. Nutanix Prism Pro as a part of the Nutanix Cloud Manager capabilities also made managing the system much easier by offering one dashboard to control everything. In the past when there was a performance issue, we had to diagnose if it was a server, storage, or networking problem. With Prism Pro, we can quickly isolate the culprit and resolve it.

Another benefit was consolidating our hardware resources, which was important for our company for two reasons. First, the smaller energy footprint meant money saved from reduced power consumption and cooling requirements. Second, Himalaya Wellness is committed to minimizing carbon use through our green initiatives. Consolidating hardware was a great way to decrease our environmental impact without negatively affecting our operations.

A Hybrid Operation Needs Cutting-Edge Tech

Himalaya Wellness has always been an early adopter of the latest technology, and we need the latest tools for success. Our operation is hybrid, with resources on the cloud and on-prem. Most of our customer-facing or field applications are cloud-based. 

Having a partner that understands our operations and is available 24 hours a day is a big part of our success. OEM and our technology partner were especially critical during the migration and was always willing to help with implementation or support issues. Without their knowledgeable staff, we could not maintain our server backend operations or data infrastructure, and their partnership throughout this transition was invaluable.

Surviving in the modern business world is all about being on the cutting edge. It is critical to always keep an eye out for new technologies, and we are confident that Nutanix offers Himalaya Wellness the agility, scalability, and simplified management for a great future.