Concha y Toro raises a glass to Citrix virtual computing

Concha y Toro is Latin America’s largest producer of wines and the eighth largest winemaker worldwide, with vineyards located in Chile, Argentina and the United States. In 2010, the winery’s consolidated sales totaled $735 million U.S., with exports to such countries as the UK, Canada and Japan representing nearly 70 percent.

In 2010, Chile was affected by a major earthquake, which had an impact on the entire wine-producing industry. Even under these conditions, however, Concha y Toro still managed to produce 29.2 million cases of wine (one million more cases than during the previous period). The company recently purchased California’s Fetzer Vineyards for $238 million, which will boost its annual production by 3.2 million cases.

To sustain the company’s growth, Concha y Toro invested $297 million in equipment and facilities, improvements to production processes and expansion of its brand portfolio. A portion of this investment was earmarked for improvements to the company’s IT infrastructure.

The Challenge: Improving access to corporate resources

As part of its growth strategy, the winery had to address the challenge of consolidating its IT services across facilities located in Chile and Argentina and providing improved access to corporate systems for administrative and sales employees. Corporate information was in silos and ran on separate servers.

Because its vineyards are located away from major metropolitan areas, where it is hard to acquire high-performance broadband links, the company was unable to offer high-quality, responsive access to its IT system to all employees – a requirement for a global enterprise such as Concha y Toro. Further, because the wine-producing business is developing in rural areas with limited access to communication technologies, the company was hit with a related challenge: connecting all production centers scattered throughout a number of valleys and regions of Chile and Argentina with consistent levels of quality.

This geographically dispersed organization caused other issues for the IT department: providing remote support to business applications and keeping systems up-to-date. The company’s network comprised 1,350 desktop computers, representing a 15 percent increase since 2010. Corporate applications were running on approximately 500 machines located in the company’s central offices.

Jorge Parra, assistant manager of IT services, recollected, “Although we managed to set up our applications throughout the network, it turned out to be hard to provide remote assistance to users and to update computers with new versions of software. To accomplish this, we had to send a technician to the site, which delayed service to the user. Often, we were forced to provide service that was less than ideal.”

Poor connectivity affected the company’s business because all sites could not get the same service level for all their systems, and back-up was performed using DVDs. The transfer of backup information from the vineyards to the central offices required 10 days or more.

Implementing the Citrix virtual computing solution

The company approached Citrix Systems, Inc., about centralizing the delivery of its applications, improving access quality and enhancing the computing experience of users.

“We saw the need to standardize the applications provided to employees, reduce support needs of each user, lower incident and failure rates and prolong the useful life of client hardware,” explained Daniel Durán, information technology and process manager. “To do this, we needed a standardized platform that would allow us to make changes and provide application version updates centrally,”

Therefore, the company selected Citrix® XenApp™ for on-demand delivery of virtual applications, Citrix Access Gateway™ for secure remote access from anywhere and Citrix® Branch Repeater™ to accelerate and optimize delivery to branch offices and mobile users.

Working with ST Computación, a Gold Citrix® Solution Advisor, Concha y Toro adopted a three-step approach. In step one, four IBM System x 3650 M3 servers were installed to host XenApp and Microsoft® Windows® 2008 running two key virtualized corporate applications. In step two, virtual application access was provided to an initial group of 125 users at the corporate office in Santiago de Chile. For desktop access, HP T5730w thin client terminals were purchased. For step three, it is expected that 500 workstations will be used to access XenApp virtualized applications.

Remote workers connect to the Citrix environment using Citrix Access Gateway. High-performance delivery over the WAN is provided by Branch Repeater.  

The company has set up two enterprise resource systems. Its production system, called Kupay, manages the life cycle of grapes from their harvest until they are processed, as well as bulk wine storage. For administrative and sales management, the company uses the SAP/R3 system.

“In the near future, we expect that the entire network will be running on the centralized XenApp platform so that we’ll be able to administer our entire production and operations infrastructure from just one point,” Durán disclosed.

Standardizing user access and experience across the enterprise

By creating a centralized management platform for its corporate applications, Concha y Toro has sparked a cultural shift within the organization, as the new infrastructure model has enabled the experiences of users based at all of the company’s locations to be brought to comparable levels. “With XenApp, any employee can access the latest application we’ve been working with at headquarters without waiting for a technician to make an on-site support visit, which makes them much more productive,” Durán asserted. User experience is consistent at any point on the network.

Moreover, this infrastructure centralizes data that used to be scattered across various machines. “In the past, we had to ask users for disks with copies of what was on each computer. Now this is all handled on a server that centralizes everything, which means one less step for us and ensures that the backup takes place,” added Parra.

Another benefit offered by the Citrix solution is the ability to deliver virtual applications to thin-client terminals, which Concha y Toro plans to adopt because they feature longer life and lower electricity costs. “We’ve calculated that, in one year, we will be able to reduce our electricity costs for desktop computers by 33 percent,” said Durán.

About Citrix Access Gateway

Citrix® Access Gateway™ is a secure access solution that enables the IT department to apply security policies on multiple levels in order to grant access to users based in remote locations as if they were within the corporate network.

About Citrix Branch Repeater

Citrix® Branch Repeater™ is a solution that optimizes the delivery of applications to desktop computers, thus providing users with a high-quality viewing experience and drastically reducing the amount of bandwidth consumed by applications.

About Citrix XenApp

Citrix® XenApp™ is a Windows® application delivery system that manages applications in the datacenter and delivers them as a service to users based anywhere, using any device.

©2011 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix®, XenApp™, Citrix Access Gateway™ and Branch Repeater™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Microsoft® and Windows® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

With XenApp, any employee can access the latest application we’ve been working with at headquarters without needing to wait for a technician to make an on-site support visit, which makes them much more productive.
- Daniel Durán

Information Technology and Process Manager

Concha y Toro

Key Benefits

  • Centralized management and backup
  • Consistent user experience across remote locations
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Support for corporate growth

Applications Delivered

  • Microsoft® Office Standard and Professional
  • SAP R3
  • Kupay vineyard enterprise resource system

Networking Environment