Mowi: Sustainable Fish Farming for a Growing World

Mowi: Sustainable Fish Farming for a Growing World

Else Beate Gullestad

Else Beate Gullestad,

As the world’s population grows, the demand for healthy food grows along with it. Salmon provider Mowi is committed to meeting that demand through sustainable fish farming. To make its ambitious goals a reality, Mowi set its sights on modernizing the core IT systems – and the “Cloud First strategy” is already paying off. 

Feeding the world. As far as challenges go, it’s hard to imagine a greater one. Right now, only 2% of the world’s food supply comes from the ocean. But, as the United Nations states, that number is going to have to rise dramatically. In fact, according to the UN’s OECD-DAO Agricultural Outlook, the world will need to produce an additional 30 million tons of aquatic food to maintain current consumption in 2030. 

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The drive for a sustainable food future
Enter Mowi, the world’s largest provider of Atlantic salmon (check out Mowis presentation during Snapshot Breakfast in Oslo). Mowi is leading the Blue Revolution – an initiative to meet the growing, global food demand by developing responsible aquaculture. With over 14,000 employees working in 25 countries, Mowi already supplies one fifth of all farm-raised Atlantic salmon, and its goal is to produce even more food from the ocean—all while prioritizing fish health and sustainability.

But delivering on this mission would be no easy task. To successfully lead the Blue Revolution, Mowi needed leading-edge infrastructure and technology that would help it maximize security and productivity while minimizing costs. So, when the company’s datacenter hardware began to approach end-of-life, Mowi saw an opportunity for a technology refresh.

“Our goal in IT is to become an integral player in the company’s transformation – to be a catalyst for positive change, partner in business development and an innovator in solutions for resolving business challenges that are combined with elements of the environment, biology and salmon, using technology,” says Mowi’s Group CIO Marvin Dsouza.

Taking aquaculture to the cloud
Until recently, Mowi relied on its large datacenter in Slough, England, for the vast majority of its data storage and backup needs. The site housed more than 70 servers and maintaining such a large-scale datacenter was a significant drain on resources.

Mowi decided to migrate its large on-premises datacenter to the cloud. Looking to build upon its existing relationship with Microsoft, Azure became the platform of choice. Besides from the complexity of migrating a large datacenter, the project was also challenging due to a tight, two-month deadline. To help, Mowi engaged Cognizant – its long-term technology consultant and a Microsoft Gold Partner.

Zero downtime migration
Cognizant handled the end-to-end migration, ensuring that all 70+ were transferred to Azure on-time and on-budget, including infrastructure servers and business-critical hosted applications. In spite of unforeseen challenges with the existing network line, Cognizant completed the migration with zero downtime to Mowi’s ongoing operations.

“Mowi IT has adopted a 'Cloud First strategy' for all business support applications and infrastructure support products,” says Robert Berkenpas, Mowi’s Infrastructure and Operations Manager. “Several business-critical applications, our corporate ERP have already moved to the cloud and delivered impressive results, in terms of cost, licensing, labor, flexibility, and security. More importantly, when the information silos were removed, we were able to streamline and coordinate global operations and improve overall productivity and collaboration across our business.”

Tech supporting a sustainable future
Mowi now enjoys reduced costs and new levels of performance. Currently, the company is looking into moving the majority of the remaining on-premises servers in its offices and branches to Azure.

“Employees throughout the company have noticed the latency difference,” says Robert Berkenpas. Whenever I talk to the IT teams, they mention that ping times are down, and that apps are more responsive and robust.” 

The datacenter refresh is also set to play a large role in Mowi’s ongoing work to safeguard fish health. The company is utilizing a rapidly growing number of IoT devices, such as underwater cameras and sensors, which are generating vast volumes of data around lice count and similar issues. Once Mowi has completed an upcoming network-side upgrade, it will have the capacity to process and act on this data.