OnCue is an Oklahoma-based convenience store chain with over 65 locations across the state. Founded in 1966, OnCue provides Phillips 66 Top Tier Gasoline to its customers while also pioneering compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative domestic fuel. In addition to serving up quality fuel, OnCue strives to make their stores premier convenience locations. With meticulously maintained facilities, customizable fountain drinks and an exhaustive selection of foods that goes beyond just snacks, OnCue’s stores aim to be the ideal one-stop convenience location for its customers.

The Challenge of Growth

OnCue has enjoyed steady business throughout their 50 years, but their growth has skyrocketed over the past decade. As they continued to expand across Oklahoma, they knew it was only a matter of time before their more traditional, 3-2-1 IT infrastructure could no longer meet their needs. They knew they needed equipment that could not only keep up with the current pace of growth but scale out with them as they grow in the future.

That’s not to say that their older system didn’t serve them well. In fact, the EqualLogic storage they had been using lasted quite some time. But as operations have continued to intensify, OnCue has taken a more aggressive approach in anticipating their future needs.

The Decision for Hyperconvergence

With flexibility and potential to scale the primary features in mind, OnCue sought a new kind of infrastructure. They wanted something that was leaner yet more powerful – something that could effectively handle their growing operations while also being easier to manage. Such a solution sounds too good to be true, but after a little research they realized that such a solution in fact exists – hyperconvergence.

The Needs

  • Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Easier manageability

Any new technology comes with a degree of uncertainty. Which hyperconverged solution would be the best for their needs? How would it fit in with the rest of their IT infrastructure? To guide them in this decision-making process, they turned to their longtime IT partners at InterWorks.

No stranger to the revolutionary world of hyperconvergence, InterWorks agreed that hyperconvergence was indeed an excellent fit for OnCue. To begin, InterWorks helped OnCue identify a few hypeconverged infrastructure options. After examining all the options closely, InterWorks and OnCue agreed that a hyperconverged solution from Nutanix fit both the requirements and the budget over the competition. Even better, Nutanix would run on Dell XC730 hardware, in keeping with OnCue’s affinity and experience with Dell products throughout their infrastructure.

Easy Implementation

With Dell doing a lot of the heavy lifting in delivering the three pre-provisioned hosts with Nutanix and ESXi installed, all that remained for OnCue was configuration. InterWorks assisted in this configuration process, getting the solution up and running quickly and with minimal interruption to OnCue’s operations. The best part of configuring this new system is that the need for ongoing maintenance is greatly reduced thanks to each host orchestrating updates through controller VMs. These controllers also handle moving VMs in the background, removing the need to do that manually.

“Doing the implementation by ourselves would’ve taken three times longer without InterWorks. They helped to streamline the whole project, making it a top priority.”

- Amanda Taylor, Systems Administrator, OnCue Express

The Difference Hyperconvergence Makes

For OnCue, hyperconvergence turned out to be as advertised. First, more storage was added, giving OnCue the ability to keep growing without worrying about free space. But that could be achieved with any new storage solution. Since OnCue went with a hyperconverged infrastructure, they’ve already seen numerous additional benefits.

Perhaps the most notable change is less need for continuous maintenance and updating. Using Prism Software, OnCue and InterWorks can streamline updates, eliminating the need to do them manually. Not only that, OnCue has had no latency problems since implementing their new infrastructure and no longer experience database performance issues. With performance in check, OnCue’s Help Desk spends far less time fielding those issues and more time assisting users with other requests. Of course performance wasn’t just slightly improved. Data collected from the new infrastructure compared to data collected from the old shows that their new Nutanix solution is greatly outperforming their previous infrastructure, a testament to the efficiency of hyperconvergence.

Benefits

  • More storage
  • Less maintenance
  • Better performance
  • Room to grow

In the end, vastly improved performance, increased storage capacity and an easier administrative interface have made operations at OnCue much smoother. As if those perks weren’t enough, their new infrastructure isn’t merely designed to help them meet current needs. The Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure actually gives them more flexibility and scalability than ever before, ensuring that they can continue to grow without having to worry about outpacing their infrastructure. They also have the peace of mind knowing that any updates they might have to make will be far less expensive than the inevitable refresh they would face if they had opted for a more traditional storage solution.

“The biggest change with our new infrastructure is that, in general, our network runs much better. Before, people were complaining a bit about things being slow. They don’t do that at all anymore, which certainly makes me happy.”

- Amanda Taylor, Systems Administrator, OnCue Express

The Next Hurdle

With their new solution in place, you might think that OnCue would be more than content with the state of their IT for quite some time. On the contrary, OnCue is always looking for room to improve. With their core infrastructure now sorted, OnCue is now looking at other ways to streamline their operations. Specifically, OnCue is currently looking to improve their VoIP phone systems in all stores as well as a new disaster recovery solution (a wise move given Oklahoma’s reputation for natural disasters). Advising them in all of these endeavors is none other than their trusted partner, InterWorks. We’re excited to watch OnCue grow, and we’re proud to assist another thriving Oklahoma-based business that takes such a forward approach to ensuring they’re running the best business possible.

What's Next?

  • Improved VoIP phones
  • New DR solution
  • Continued guidance from InterWorks

“Having a partner as diverse as InterWorks on our side makes project management a lot easier. With them, I don’t have to manage 20 different projects in different places – it’s all in one place. It also helps that everyone there is so friendly and willing to help. Even as a systems administrator, it’s nice to have another reliable resource to fall back on.”

- Amanda Taylor, Systems Administrator, OnCue Express