• Customer

      Rio Grande Pacific Corporation

    • Industry


    • Offerings

      Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage

    • Key Challenges

      Modernizing IT to ensure on-time operations and drive business growth

    • Outcomes

      86% reduction in server use
      93% reduction in power consumption
      2 minutes to provision a server, not hours
      45 seconds to produce an end-of-month report instead of 30 minutes

  • Our Approach

    Ensuring on-time, efficient operations and transforming a traditional business model

    After reviewing several technology providers, including Dell EMC and HP, RGPC decided to build its infrastructure on a foundation of Dell EMC technology. Robert Bach, president and COO of RGPC, says, “We selected Dell EMC because it has a reputation for reliability, which is business-critical for us in keeping railroad operations moving.”

    Dell EMC Unity All-Flash midrange storage is at the core of the company’s redundant infrastructure, which incorporates three data centers. RGPC deployed Unity 300F devices with 32 TB of storage capacity. IT managers use the Dell EMC Unity Virtual Storage Integrator to set up servers on VMware.

    The Dell EMC Unity array at headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, connects to the Dell EMC data replication storage systems in the other locations. It also interfaces with data sources and applications in the Microsoft Azure cloud. RGPC’s business-critical software systems — Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint as well as Sage accounting software — run on the Dell EMC infrastructure. Developers build dashboard applications and other software tools for RGPC customers on the same foundation.

    RGPC worked with CDW, a Dell EMC Titanium Black partner, to complete the Dell EMC Unity All-Flash implementation. Following this successful effort, the company will again collaborate with CDW to extend its reach by marketing its services and solutions to other rail transportation businesses. Chris Bertel, VP of finance at RGPC, explains, “Our strategic partnership with CDW allows us to have access to additional technology services and companies.”

    Having implemented Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage, RGPC elevated its competitive standing and became a more valuable solutions provider to its industry. “The primary difference between Rio Grande Pacific and most other short-line holding companies is we have modern technology,” says Brown. “Our Technology Group has now developed what we like to call our Railway Internet of Things or RIOT. We’re pulling together systems that were once separate into a single dashboard for our customers to see. RIOT and our other solutions are being developed on Dell EMC Unity All-Flash.” He adds, “We needed our technology infrastructure to match our company's aggressive growth. We achieved that with Dell EMC.”

    Bertel highlights how Dell EMC Unity All-Flash supports the company in moving its business model into the digital era. “Dell EMC midrange storage has helped transform our IT and evolve our business structure,” he says. “With Dell EMC, we can bundle additional technology services for the short-line railroads and for the commuter industry. We also can help our customers reduce their costs.”

    • “We couldn’t do the things that we’re doing now if Dell EMC wasn’t here. The future of rail travel is tied to the future of technology. That’s why we’re with Dell EMC.”

      Robert Bach, President and Chief Operating Officer, Rio Grande Pacific Corporation


    Delivers businesswide efficiencies

    RGPC achieved outstanding efficiencies and operational improvements in several areas of the business by taking advantage of Dell EMC Unity All-Flash. While it once took hours to provision a server, this is now a two-minute process. Employees produce an end-of-the-month report in a mere 45 seconds instead of 30 minutes. In addition, it used to take half a day or longer to complete 15 TB backups, but they are now completed in just a few hours. Brown sees those accomplishments as connected to the company’s ability to advance its industry. He says, “Dell EMC Unity All-Flash has increased our server performance tenfold. It is helping us transform the short-line industry by enabling the services we deliver to other rail companies.” Curtis Oelmann, RGPC’s director of IT, adds, “When we found Dell EMC, what we were trying to do was improve our speed from our servers back to our end-users' computers. We bought the Dell EMC Unity 300F All-Flash storage array. You go with the best!”

    Reduces power costs and server use

    With Dell EMC Unity All-Flash at the core of a virtualized environment, RGPC realized an 86 percent reduction in server use and also cut its use of electrical power by 93 percent, from 15,000 to 1,000 watts. “Having a Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage array lowers our electrical footprint, which means we save money on UPS systems and generators,” says Brown. “And overall rack performance has increased. We went from having 28 physical servers to just four.”

    Ensures on-time, reliable railroad operation

    The efficiencies that become possible with its Dell EMC Unity All-Flash infrastructure, combined with the systems’ reliability and business continuity resulting from redundant configurations, help RGPC to maintain its schedules and meet delivery commitments. Brown explains, “The Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage array has allowed our dispatch systems to not only run faster but also deliver another level of redundancy in case there's a loss of servers. It provides us with the fault tolerance to keep our systems running and to operate the railroad safely without delays.”

    Oelmann sees those improvements in the context of RGPC’s anticipated growth and client-service delivery. “This is our first commuter line that Rio Grande Pacific has taken on,” he says, commenting on a new client. “We’re looking to venture out from here and with Dell EMC we’re going to be able to expand exponentially. We’re excited to take that on.”

    Enables executive ability to grow and reposition the business

    RGPC executives rely on the Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage to provide the information they need as they perform strategic planning and make decisions about the future of the organization. Bertel says, “Dell EMC is helping us run our business a lot more smoothly because we’re able to store data and access it at any time.” Bach points out that modernizing IT supported RGPC’s effort to turn railroad operations from a cost center into a revenue center. “Dell EMC will assist us in getting more real-time data on all aspects of our business so that we can manage it more efficiently,” he notes. “If you're going to adapt for the future, you have to have the data at your fingertips. Dell EMC products help us do that.”