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 PFD Food Services drives assurance, durability and savings with modernised information management strategy.


  • With a national footprint and round-the-clock operations PFD needed to ensure the protection and high availability of its data assets.
  • The company wanted to modernise its information infrastructure and ensure business continuity without injecting additional cost.
  • The competitive nature of the food distribution business meant that PFD needed a cost effective data management strategy which could respond nimbly to changing business conditions.


Commvault Data Protection, Disaster Recovery and Cloud connector software with NetApp servers and Amazon’s S3 cloud


  • Trusted partnership with Venn IT Solutions has delivered a “Belt and braces” approach and reduced risk, improved timely access to data and enhanced business continuity.
  • 34 percent of tape management related costs stripped out with no compromise on quality.
  • Process automation combined with strong integration with industry-leading hardware and storage solutions enables flexibility, durability and business continuity for the business. 


PFD Food Services has a rich and varied history, tracing its origins back to 1864 when the business sold fresh fish in Melbourne. Over the years the company has grown substantially, especially since the 1970’s when the current owner, Rick Smith, took the reins, and has grown the company to be Australia’s largest privately owned fresh and frozen food distributor with $1.5 billion turnover, 2,200 staff and over 65 sites across Australia.

Food distribution is a fast and often unforgiving business; there is a narrow window to match supply and demand for the customer, while the market is fiercely competitive. Richard Cohen, Chief Information Officer of PFD, understands all too well that for a fast growing business in this sector, it is essential that information systems are effective in supporting the organisation’s strategic data assets.

His goal has been to establish a reliable, resilient and risk-free environment, harnessing state of the art technology to drive out costs and ensure that PFD’s data assets are properly protected. Key to that is an effective and efficient approach to data management, supportive of business continuity.


About five years ago the company migrated from HP Data Protector to Commvault’s integrated platform in order to support faster and more effective data management. And as the company evolved, PFD looked to their trusted advisors at Venn IT Solutions to find even more ways to strip out costs and risk while increasing productivity and availability of data.

Key to the company’s contingency strategy was the decision to establish a second data centre. This acts as the source for essential backups, which is less risky than having them driven out of the primary transactional site. The second data centre also operates as a corporate hot site, providing rapid up-to-the-minute failover if required.

Initially PFD’s back-ups were made to tape which was located offsite. While tape is believed to be a traditionally cheaper storage medium for back-up and archiving, it faces some quality and speed issues, as well as management costs which can quickly add up. PFD was incurring close to $30,000 each year in tape rotation and offsite services, tape media and tape library maintenance fees.