DFS Inc. Manufactures Feed 24/7 with Network Monitoring

Real-time visibility keeps one of Iowa’s largest feed companies running


When a significant portion of Iowa’s farmers depend on your mill to feed their hogs and turkeys, production just can’t stop. In order to output more than 1.5 million tons annually from their four Iowa locations, DFS Inc. operates 24/7. Keeping the mill’s critical mill systems and the network they rely on running is the number one goal of IT Systems Engineer Kyle Bodholdt.

As the company’s only IT technician, Kyle is not only responsible for daily network monitoring, but he also provides frequent help desk assistance to the company’s over 150 employees while balancing long-term IT projects. Prioritizing what to do at any given moment can be difficult.

“That’s why Intermapper is so amazing,” said Kyle. Real-time alerts allow him to keep tabs on the network at all times, while a visual display of his network configuration makes it easy to quickly identify and troubleshoot network problems.   

Don’t Feed the Bandwidth Hogs

Uptime in the manufacturing world means production schedules are met, product is delivered as planned, and business is profitable. On the flip side, network slowdowns or outages can negatively (even catastrophically) impact operations.  

Mill equipment at DFS runs on Windows servers and connect to the network via switches. It’s Kyle’s responsibility to monitor the bandwidth and status of these servers and switches, along with dozens of firewalls, wireless links, workstations, and more. 

Before using Intermapper, DFS monitored traffic flowing across the network with a free NetFlow analyzer. Getting a picture of network performance with NetFlow data was critical to Kyle.

But after experiencing licensing issues, Kyle started to investigate other software for manufacturing network monitoring. After discovering that Intermapper had an add-on product (Intermapper Flows) for NetFlow analysis, DFS decided to make the switch.   

Visual Maps Make Catching Problems Easier

From his workstation in Newell, Iowa, Kyle uses Intermapper Remote Access to monitor the datacenter in real time, which is located at another facility. A NOC displays his Intermapper maps. When anything goes wrong, sound alerts get his attention. Early indications of potential problems help him identify their origin faster, which increases the company’s uptime.

What Kyle likes best about Intermapper is that he can see “not just that there’s an issue, but more specifically what that issue is.” On an Intermapper map, both a device and its links will change color to reflect their statuses—which could reveal, for example, that “the device is operating perfectly fine, but the connection is over-utilized.”

“The price for the product makes it feasible for companies our size over many of the NMS’s out there,” said Kyle. He also values the customer-contributed probe collection, which he’s used to customize what metrics he monitors on certain devices.

What kinds of issues has Intermapper identified? “It’s caught so much,” said Kyle, often before users even notice. 

“The visual representations Intermapper provides aren’t something I’ve seen in any other product, and that’s why I’ve continued to use it.”

Ensure Smooth Operations with Intermapper

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