Sheetz Chooses Stratus ftServer

“Stratus’ rock solid uptime assurance lets us confidently support more stores and new functionality,” says Sheetz spokesperson.

Convenience store chain Sheetz Inc. has cut downtime risks to its point-of-sale payments system and new loyalty program with Stratus ftServer systems.

In the process, the company has created an ultra-resilient disaster recovery system that ensures business continuity and protects against data loss in the event of catastrophe.

Number 79 on the Forbes list of largest private U.S. companies with more than 380 stores in six states, Sheetz recently upgraded an existing Stratus ftServer system and replaced an x86 general-purpose back-up server at a remote site with a second continuously available ftServer system. This upgrade and addition let Sheetz implement a feature in its electronic payments software that splits live transaction loads between the two Stratus servers. Half of the transactions are sent to the resident server and the other half to the second server located 20 miles away. Microsoft SQL Server data replication synchronizes all of the transaction data via simultaneous updates to both server databases.

“Non-cash payment options account for the majority of our sales,” noted Randy Pielmeier, payments system administrator at Sheetz. “Reliable electronic funds transfers are crucial to our business. Stratus’ rock solid uptime assurance lets us confidently support more stores and new functionality.”

Currently generating more than $5 billion in annual sales, the Altoona, Pa.-based chain continues to add 25 new stores per year, quickly building a per-store sales volume that’s 2-3 times greater than the industry average.

“The new ftServer systems deliver four times the performance of our earlier generation machine. This will enable us to keep up with our rapid growth, and set the stage to introduce Hyper-V virtualization in the future,” said Pielmeier. “The new configuration also gives us a streamlined, higher performance and more resilient disaster recovery system that eliminates the need for a backup server.”

Delivering 99.999% and greater uptime, the Stratus ftServer platform automatically prevents downtime and data loss for Microsoft Windows-based applications and databases. In contrast to alternative solutions, Stratus’ industry-leading uptime technology is instant, affordable and uncomplicated. There’s no need for application modification, specialized system management, proprietary systems or complex hardware and software configurations. The reliability of a fault-tolerant system is a clear advantage for payments processing and loyalty solutions. Stratus, a proven leader in this market segment, has made fault tolerance for Windows-based applications both technically attractive and cost-justifiable.

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