Good Foods

Versatile IT upgrades support accelerated growth for Wisconsin food manufacturer

Good Foods of Pleasant Prairie deploys HPE hardware and software to meet increased utilization and demand.


Good Foods Group is a family-owned business based in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. It produces a range of in-demand, better-for-you dips and spreads, leading to exponential growth over the past 15 years.

The company started in 2007 with a 5,000 sq ft facility in Irving Park, Chicago IL. They quickly outgrew that and, by 2013, had moved to Pleasant Prairie WI, which has been the main facility since. It didn’t take long to outgrow their original 50,000 sq ft unit; even after doubling it to over 100,000 sq ft, space became tight, and they needed more capacity.

In 2018, they added a new facility in Tacámbaro, Mexico, which freed up a lot of capacity. Still, both sites are reaching capacity once again.


Modernizing IT infrastructure to keep ahead of demand

IT Director David Eto has been at Good Foods since 2018 and was the only person on the IT team for a while. David’s first hire was in 2020, and now six IT staffers report directly to David in the US, and three IT staffers report to the IT Manager in Mexico.

“When I started at the beginning of 2018, there wasn’t an IT department or any internal IT staff.  Back then, the Controller was performing basic IT functions. A previous third-party vendor was doing the bare minimum but wasn’t invested in the company’s success,” David explains. “There were a couple of servers, and almost all services and applications ran on an overloaded Domain Controller.”

From the outset, Good Foods was experiencing common growing pains with technology because of a lack of standardization. Some employees used desktops, while others used laptops. No computer imaging or deployment mechanisms were in place, so end users ran different operating systems and software versions. 

“My initial push when I started was to get all employees on a laptop with a standard computer image deployed so that they had the flexibility to work from home or the office,” says David.

With the company growing every year since David started, going from about 200 employees to over 400 employees, other challenges included:

  • Modernizing the IT department and infrastructure and implementing industry best practice standards.
  • Improving the visibility and overall security of devices connecting to the network.
  • Better integration of US and Mexican IT teams and infrastructure.
  • Keeping up with and getting ahead of bandwidth demands.
Good Foods - Farmers
Good Foods - Avocados
Good Foods - Pickle


A trusted partner

When it came to finding a new IT vendor, David was clear about who he wanted as a partner. “Having partnered with Source One Technology for many years at previous employers, there was no question as to who I would appoint to help us tackle our IT challenges,” recalls David. “It’s just the way Source One Technology does things – Jesse and his team always take care of their customers. I appreciate their honesty and integrity, and we’ve had great success working together for many years.”

“One of the issues you can face working with some IT vendors is the revolving door of engineers they might assign,” adds David. “When the “latest” engineer comes on-site, they often waste time relearning your environment and catching up on what their other colleagues had previously done. We don’t have that problem with Source One Technology. Our assigned primary and secondary engineers stay with us. Whether solving technical problems or working on strategic IT decisions together, they always know what’s happening and start solving any problems immediately.”

Shortly after David’s arrival, he began working with Source One Technology to put a cohesive plan together for updating the IT infrastructure and supporting foundational systems (networking, servers, storage, etc.) that had been previously lacking and unable to meet the expanding and ever-changing requirements of a quickly growing company. 

IT when it’s needed where it’s needed

Over the next few years, Good Foods’ IT infrastructure has been methodically upgraded in controlled increments.  This ensured the company stayed ahead of increased utilization and demand requirements while improving overall security from end-user devices, the access layer, and throughout the core network. Once again, this simplified management (including adding automated control mechanisms) and increased overall visibility and proactive monitoring capabilities for the entire IT team.


HPE SAN storage

An initial HP laptop rollout was followed by introducing a new HPE MSA 2052 SAN as a shared storage repository that would co-exist with their existing Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) environment. With the HPE SAN purchase, Good Foods was finally able to introduce High Availability capabilities and failover redundancies that were previously not available for the organization. It also added a massive amount of disk storage that was quickly becoming necessary to keep up with backend business databases, applications, and user data in general.


HPE Aruba wireless deployment

The previous and aging wireless infrastructure was due for a huge update and expansion. David wasn’t confident the previous wireless vendor would be able to meet the technical challenges of the growing company, so he chose an HPE Aruba 300 series of access points for their wireless solution and worked with Source One Technology to do a complete replacement and expansion of the wireless APs across the entire 100,000 sq. ft Pleasant Prairie facility.


HPE servers

The existing Cisco UCS infrastructure was rapidly approaching end-of-life and proving to be overly complex and difficult for internal IT staff to manage, so a decision was made to replace the Cisco UCS servers with HPE ProLiant servers.

Good Foods was already using VMware as its core virtualization platform, with the back-end VMware infrastructure being supported by the HPE MSA SAN installed the prior year. The Cisco UCS servers were replaced with new HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen 10 with the specs and horsepower required (for compute and memory needs) to sustain performance over the next six years and to compliment the High Availability environment that was already in place. 

The retirement of the Cisco UCS servers in favor of the HPE ProLiant servers was a no-brainer, especially when you factored in additional benefits such as the remote capability of HPE Integrate Light Out (iLO) features. With the added bonus of the native inclusion of HPE ProLiant sensors in their existing PRTG monitoring software, it made day-to-day administration and proactive alerting much easier for IT staff to manage.


HPE Aruba switch upgrades and expansion

At this time, Good Foods had a mix of Cisco and HPE Aruba switches within their network’s access layer and core. The combination of having to potentially renew expensive SmartNet support contracts for their aging Cisco switches, along with requiring additional network connectivity in newly built office areas and in the shipping department, meant having to make a crucial decision to standardize the overall network hardware platform moving forward. Good Foods decided to standardize on HPE Aruba switches after comparing functionality, performance, costs, and ROI for years to come.

Replacing the Cisco switches with more robust HPE Aruba switches increased network capacity and bandwidth capabilities, improved up-time and reliability that had been increasingly plaguing the aging Cisco hardware, provided better security features and traffic handling capabilities, and allowed the company to standardize on one single management platform for visibility into the infrastructure.

The network expansion and platform standardization on HPE Aruba hardware was implemented in tandem with a separate internal segmentation firewall project as part of ongoing security initiatives.


More data and archived storage requirements

Good Foods was outperforming its own expectations when it came to expansion and growth in 2022, which resulted in the need for even more data capacity and back-end storage along with providing, for the first time ever, the need for longer-term archived data storage. David knew he could address both concerns with a single purchase.

First, he would bring in the next-generation HPE MSA 2062 SAN, which provided for even better performance, increased IOPS, improved caching, performance tiering capabilities, and plenty of room for future expansion. This would address continued expansion and growth for years to come with the company’s production data and server environment.

Second, he would also have Source One Technology repurpose the older HPE MSA SAN that was installed in 2019 to address a new requirement of having a longer-term storage repository made available for archived company data.


Network access control 

One of the key IT security initiatives this year was implementing Network Access Control (NAC). After researching several options, Good Foods decided to implement ClearPass, the HPE Aruba-based NAC solution, to provide comprehensive and precise profiling, as well as authentication and authorizations for users and devices trying to access their IT resources.

As Aruba ClearPass builds an accurate inventory of everything connected to the wired and wireless networks, each device (laptop, fingerprint reader, timeclock, camera, etc.) is assigned an appropriate role determining the proper level of access along with other configuration parameters. This helps improve overall security and adhere to the concept of Principal of Least Privilege (PoLP). Furthermore, Aruba ClearPass even integrates with their antivirus, which ensures that only devices that pass specific “health checks” are allowed onto the network.

Having multiple methods of onboarding new devices allows departments such as Maintenance and Production to introduce internet-connected devices without exposing the network to undue risk and still maintain centralized inventory and control. This helps reduce helpdesk tickets, frees up the IT teams to focus on more important tasks, and eliminates implementation delays. Another benefit, as an example, is that low-priority devices are assigned a role that can access the Internet but nothing else, meaning that frequently-changed devices like timeclocks don’t require any IT intervention to program.

“Enforcement on the wired network began in February, and NAC rules were put into place for port authentication,” says David. “With the success of NAC on the wired network, our next step was to implement NAC for wireless enforcement, so when a wireless user attempts to connect, Aruba ClearPass first checks to ensure the device is authorized. It’s proven far more secure than previously only using pre-shared keys because NAC verifies if the actual device is allowed.” 

The security improvements from Aruba NAC have been huge according to David, “Aruba ClearPass has been a game changer for us. The policies and rules put in place have made it much easier to recognize different types of devices, automatically place them in the correct VLAN, and give them the correct level of access. Not only does it increase security, but it makes our jobs managing those devices easier.” 


Core and edge switching refresh

With more physical expansion and growth continuing at an unrelenting pace, the decision was made to finally upgrade the network core switching and all remaining legacy network switches that were not previously included in the interim 2021 refresh. It was determined that core switching would be provided by a pair of stacked HPE Aruba 6300M switches, and all access layer switching would be served up by HPE Aruba 6200F switches, which was a continuation of what had been rolled out in 2021.

The refresh allowed Good Foods to update its network architecture and implement a highly available, redundant architecture with devices connecting to the central stack. With over 400 cameras now installed across the Pleasant Prairie site and transferring massive amounts of data to the NVRs, David purchased switches that could support 10Gb connections and the capability of going higher if required for future demand.

“With this latest switching refresh, we’ve now got a highly available network core in the MDF, with every other IDF location hanging off in a now-standardized format. As we continue to grow, every incremental expansion looks like the rest – there’s no more uniqueness,” states David. “It took just a few hours to physically replace the switches and plug everything back in. Because 99% of the configuration is done in Aruba ClearPass, the devices got the configuration they needed, and it was all done so easily.”


New wireless technology and central management

Since the original wireless rollout in 2019, usage of devices such as network-connected sensors, process automation, and handheld units for plant operations had grown so much that the need for wireless coverage went from needing good wireless coverage almost everywhere in the facility to needing bullet-proof wireless coverage absolutely everywhere, so the first step was having Source One Technology conduct an extensive Wi-Fi heatmap study.

The new coverage and bandwidth demands, resulting from the sheer volume of wireless devices now being used, justified implementing HPE Aruba 635 series access points, which now offered Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, including the introduction of a 6 GHz band and going from dual band to tri-band radios.

To complement the new Aruba wireless rollout, Good Foods also decided to implement Aruba Central, a cloud-based management platform, to give David’s IT staffers AI-powered insights, intuitive visualizations, workflow automation, and edge-to-cloud security to manage everything from one single dashboard for the wired -and- wireless network. Aruba Central has given the IT team better visibility into wireless performance and lets them see, in real-time, who and what is connected. Aruba Central also helps to proactively alert the IT department for any abnormalities or issues before the users are affected or even aware of any issue(s).

Enterprise equipment for enterprise demands

Enterprise-grade equipment helps to ensure the servers, storage, and network infrastructure meet the increasing performance needs of an organization while providing the ability to easily expand when necessary and ensure up-time and reliability so that there are no worries about interruption to workflow and business operations.  This has become even more important in the last few years to Good Foods as more of its business is increasingly automated and tied into its ERP system – upgrading the network, servers, and storage infrastructure to support always-on reliability has been a key strategic focus supported all the way up through the executive level.

David is adamant his partnership with HPE and Aruba is stronger than ever.

Good Foods logo
We’ve had great success with HPE and Aruba products. The seamless integration of a unified platform was a no-brainer, and I’ve been using HP and HPE products for over 15 years now. The warranties and technical support made available have been great, and the equipment has always been rock-solid.
David Eto
IT Director
Good Foods, Pleasant Prairie


Ready to meet any IT challenge

From the very beginning, David’s goal has been to achieve a standardized, expandable architecture. With the introduction of robust HPE servers and storage, Aruba networking hardware, Aruba ClearPass for access control and automation, and Aruba Central providing a single pane of glass for visibility and management, he’s created a dynamic IT environment designed to match Good Food’s incredible growth trajectory.

David is particularly pleased with the recent Aruba wireless AP rollout and ClearPass implementation, commenting, “We’re doubling physical size and the number of employees every few years, so we’re very excited about the new wireless technology and recent AP rollout. We know that we’ll be in a good place with that for a long time to come in relation to coverage and capacity. Furthermore, by using Aruba ClearPass for Network Access Control (NAC) on the wired and wireless networks, we save so much time because new onboarded devices are automatically configured based on roles and put into the correct VLAN. All of this means fewer helpdesk tickets are created, and no more time is wasted trying to determine why things aren’t working as expected.  Aruba ClearPass has helped give us more time to plan for the future and be proactive instead of reactive.”

“Our CFO, Jeff McMahon, is delighted with the progress we’ve made over the last six years and that we can deliver, no matter what kind of IT challenges come our way. There’s an expectation that we can work miracles. With Source One Technology by our side, very often, we do. They’ve been a huge asset, keeping us ahead of the curve on upcoming projects.”

“People often ask me who I’d recommend as an IT partner. I always recommend reaching out to Jesse Rink and Source One Technology. Based on the responses I get from the board, the executives, my IT team, and end users, that recommendation isn’t about to change,” concludes David.

Images courtesy of Good Foods.
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