Key Information Systems delivers efficient data copy services, storage convenience for Circle K

Circle K Case Study


Founded in 1951, Circle K has grown through several acquisitions and international brands with parent company Couche-Tard, one of the largest convenience store companies in the world. With Circle K, Kangaroo Express and Corner Store presences in 42 states, the chain provides customers with a broad selection of merchandise and convenience services at thousands of locations.

One of the company’s main applications is PDI’s convenience store software, which provides Circle K with capabilities for inventory management, accounting, finance, back-store tracking and a front-end interface for store cash registers. Circle K’s store accounting and finance teams run queries off the PVI data warehousing database daily to monitor operations and inventory. For example, these teams will use the reports to ensure the point-of-sale systems and cash reported match the register drawer, or if distributors need to deliver more product to stores based on inventory processes for the day.

When report generation started to interfere with Circle K’s production database, the team had to explore other options so that the queries wouldn’t slow down production or other batch processes. First, the team created a copy of the database by way of backup and restored it to a new server to help them create reports against the new copy. This process worked well until the server database grew to five terabytes, up from 180 gigabytes, which caused an eight-hour delay before the database was backed up, restored and ready for the accounting and finance teams.

Based on their ongoing five-year relationship with Key Information Systems (KeyInfo), Circle K looked to the team for a new way to copy its rapidly growing database.

The Process

Circle K’s Senior System Administrator, Joshua Domagalski, knew there had to be a better approach to avoid timing out the daily backup and recovery processes. “Our previous partners were basically quote writers, and working with KeyInfo is much different,” said Domagalski. “KeyInfo has already proven their value—if I need help beyond the quote, they’re there to help after. And if I implement something and I’m having problems, KeyInfo will stop what they’re doing to help us get it running.”

Circle K evaluated options like using flash copies, however this would have required much more maintenance and work to continue the old process. The company also explored leveraging KeyInfo to come onsite and help build scripts out to manually manage the process, which would have been an expensive project spanning days. Luckily, KeyInfo identified an opportunity for Circle K to use IBM Spectrum’s Copy Data Management (CDM) software from their existing storage equipment. With the help of CDM, KeyInfo helped Circle K create copies of data and make them available to the pertinent teams for daily queries. Advantages of CDM also avoided making unnecessary copies or taking up valuable storage.

The Result

KeyInfo’s implementation of IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management helped Circle K eliminate hours of downtime and thousands of dollars in extra data storage costs. With the new system, Circle K drastically reduced latency from eight hours to 11 minutes. Rather than requiring four hours to back up the data and another four to restore it, the accounting and finance teams regained their days of wasted productivity.

“Our accounting team loves the system that KeyInfo developed with us. Every time we check in with them, they rave about Copy Data Management. And now, the team isn’t stuck waiting around,” said Domagalski.

Additionally, CDM helps Circle K automate copy processes and workflows to reduce complexity and ensure data consistency. Circle K’s team can schedule the process for any time, and the system also does cleanup on its own, eliminating the need for manually ridding the system of redundant or unnecessary data.

In the future, KeyInfo gives Circle K multiple options to further expand with efficiency. The chain supports multiple regions all over the country, and each region runs an instance of the software, which could take more than 24 hours to back up. With CDM, Circle K will be able to condense seven regions down to two. Additionally, the company can avoid manual reporting and script running, saving extra maintenance, increasing efficiency and providing the ability for future expansion.

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