RaceTrac Executive Talks Edge Computing

Convenience-store chain saw a 90% reduction in critical hardware failures and a 50% reduction in overall incidents after rollout, he says
CSP Staff

RaceTrac recently set out to solve the lack of stability and consistency across its retail technology stack. It previously saw 50 to 70 major outages or incidents per month across stores, and the convenience-store chain needed to minimize that, said Tyler Grubbs (pictured), executive director of store systems and technology for RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. at the Conexxus conference in Arlington, Texas.

  • RaceTrac is No. 17 on CSP’s 2024 Top 40 Update to the 2023 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count. Watch for the full 2024 Top 202 ranking in the June issue of CSP magazine and in CSP Daily News.

The solution needed to support RaceTrac's vendor preference and prerequisites for storage, Grubbs said.

It also needed centralized management to align its cloud strategy, he said. RaceTrac wanted the new technology to support both old and new applications.

The convenience-store chain first opted for a point-of-sale (POS) vendor solution, which wasn’t effective, the retailer said. It also rejected a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) vendor solution, it said—an infrastructure that combines compute, networking, storage and virtualization into a single platform. Finally, RaceTrac found what it was looking for in the Acumera Reliant Edge Computing Platform, it said.

Edge computing reduces the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another.

By running a component of application delivery on local devices, it brings processing power services closer to the end user, according to Acumera. Ultimately, multi-site businesses benefit from implementing a technology stack that integrates both edge computing and cloud computing to increase speed of innovation while maintaining continuity, reliability and security in day-to-day business operations.

After the nine-month rollout across 800 locations, RaceTrac saw a 90% reduction in critical hardware failures and a 50% reduction in overall incidents.

“It’s no longer ‘why edge?’ Edge is a technology that transcends both your bandwidth requirements and is something that is foundational to application delivery. It’s become table stakes,” said Phil Stead, vice president of sales for Acumera Reliant Platform, Austin, Texas, who joined Grubbs to talk about the advantages of edge computing.

He added, “You’re going to get it whether you like it or not. All of the major manufacturers for POS or transaction processing systems have heard you. The message to deliver in this vertical is that we’re not going to buy bundled physical hardware and software anymore. The application providers are delivering modern application architecture as either VM [virtual machine, a software-based computer that behaves like a physical computer] or as containers microservices.”

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