Cows in the Cloud

Rural Maharashtra, India, is possibly the last place one would look for high tech, but it’s there that Chitale Dairy’s “cows to cloud” initiative, powered by VMware, is helping farmers improve their stock and increase milk production.

Vishwas Chitale, CEO/CTO, Chitale Dairy, said that computers were first introduced to the business in 1984 by his father and quickly proved their value. Since then, use of technology has grown: VMware helped the dairy move over 25 of its business-critical applications and information on 200,000 cows to a private cloud, complete with automated operations management, disaster recovery, and software-defined security.

“Once we adopted VMware as a technology, it really helped us, because without that scalability I don’t think that we could do what we have done today,” he said. “We have complete management of cows through computers, changed from manual process to computed process.”

“The whole idea of using cloud computing is to really scale the compute power of what we have to a larger extent, to our farmers,” he went on. “The concept of cows to cloud was born, where information on every cow is available in a cloud, which can be accessed through the web by our farmers.”

Some of the information now available to farmers in the cloud includes health services, artificial insemination, and complete blood profiling of each animal to identify disease or nutritional deficiencies. Each day, the data is shared with the farmers via SMS messages, to help them optimally manage their herds.  “That is really helping productivity per animal,” Chitale noted.

Through the cows to cloud initiative, Chitale said, farmers have been able to reduce the number of cows they depend on—tenfold—by improving the average yield per cow. This is because they have invested in a number of technologies, hosted on VMware, that help the 50,000+ farmers with genetic profiling, selective breeding, health monitoring, farm automation, lifecycle management of the cows, and more. This has all helped to increase the average milk yield and to reduce the costs of maintaining a larger number of cows that would have otherwise been required for the same yield of milk.

The results of the cows to cloud initiative: a reduced dependence on the land, an expanded community, and a greener India. “Innovation,” Chitale said, “was the key for survival.”