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Nissan Puts the Brakes on Server Sprawl at Its Tennessee Plants
Nissan North America Inc. has dramatically reduced the number of computer servers necessary for its manufacturing operations from 159 to just 28 at its Smyrna and Decherd, Tenn., plants. The consolidation has increased NNA’s production efficiency and has cut energy usage by 34 percent, ultimately helping to create a “greener” Nissan.

“Over the past two to three years, our server population had exploded to almost 160 and was continuing to grow,” said Phil D’Antonio, manager of Conveyors and Controls Engineering, NNA. “It was extremely difficult to manage and it consumed numerous labor hours that could be used on other initiatives that add value to our operation.”

Nissan conducted a thorough inventory of its servers and defined a refresh strategy for its system infrastructure. NNA used Microsoft Hyper-V software, which allows multiple virtual machines to operate on a single physical machine. The virtualization technology helped to create a smaller and less complex system at the Smyrna and Decherd plants in less than 12 months. The smaller system improved manageability and reduced the amount of space and energy needed to operate, which also helped Nissan reduce its impact on the environment.

“The Hyper-V technology was designed to create a more efficient system and help reduce environmental impact,” said David Graff, U.S. automotive industry solutions director at Microsoft. “That has helped Nissan achieve its main objectives.”

D’Antonio said that as a result of the refresh, Nissan has realized the following benefits:

Increased reliability with minimal system downtime

Reduced expenses for running the system

Standard disaster recovery plan

An efficient setup for redundancy

Improved manageability

Compatibility with new systems

Smaller footprint to house fewer servers

Reduced energy costs by 34 percent

“We were able to reduce the growing cost associated with a sprawling system as well as cut energy usage by a third,” D’Antonio said. “As an Energy Star partner, Nissan is committed to improving the energy efficiency of our business and protecting the environment for future generations.”

Nissan’s Smyrna plant has seen its energy efficiency improve by as much as 32 percent since it began aggressively pursuing environmental initiatives in 2005. These energy-saving practices are currently saving the company more than $3.5 million per year.

Published Thursday, August 20, 2009 6:48 AM by David Marshall
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