Grupo Colon Gerena: Cooking up better network reliability

About Grupo Colon Gerena

Grupo Colon Gerena is a restaurant management company that owns franchises of brands including Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Famous Daves, Sizzler’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster throughout Puerto Rico. The management group provides technology and operations support to its 113 restaurants and 6,500 employees.

Industries: Other
Location: United States

About Scale Computing

Scale Computing, a Google Cloud Technology Partner, offers hyperconverged storage and server solutions to business partners. With the HC3 Cloud Unity platform built on Google Cloud Platform, Scale Computing helps clients cost-effectively improve their data center performance.

By using solutions built by Scale Computing on Google Cloud Platform, Grupo Colon Gerena revamped its IT infrastructure to protect itself against downtime caused by major weather events in the region.

Google Cloud Results

  • Improves network performance between Grupo Colon Gerena and local restaurants, accelerating system updates and improving efficiency
  • Reduces backup restore times from several days to minutes, minimizing impacts on restaurant operations
  • Increases cost efficiency through Scale Computing’s hyperconvergence, which lowers infrastructure overhead and improves margins

Improved data reliability for 113 restaurants and offices

Every day, Grupo Colon Gerena (GCG) welcomes tens of thousands of customers into its restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant franchise group manages 113 locations of popular fast food and sit-down chains including Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Famous Dave’s, Sizzler, Longhorn, Red Lobster, and Olive Garden on the island of Puerto Rico.

GCG faced a unique organization-wide challenge when it decided to renovate its data center infrastructure. With Puerto Rico’s history of hurricanes and other major weather events, the restaurant group needed a platform that could support a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy.

For instance, when Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, nearly every GCG restaurant was taken offline due to the conditions, including flooding and wind damage. In this scenario, the restaurant group needed a backup platform that would enable restaurants to get up and running as soon as possible to minimize business disruption.

“Given our location, we knew that disaster recovery was integral to our migration strategy,” says Ramon Vazquez Tous, Director of IT, Grupo Colon Gerena.

In addition, the restaurant company wanted to see performance improvements from a migration, as the IT infrastructure of GCG provides the technology backbone for its restaurants. With more than 6,500 employees and a large volume of sales processed daily across restaurants, the company needed a platform that could support everyday operations, including human resources and accounting systems.

By utilizing Google Cloud resources and Scale Computing, GCG found an ideal answer to its specialized platform requirements. Scale Computing and the HC3 Cloud Unity hybrid environment built on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provide a highly scalable solution that streamlines storage and network management for customers. GCG now has an IT infrastructure that provides enhanced data security and network efficiencies, helping to protect its restaurants against weather-related or performance risks.

Improving network durability

To work with its restaurant partners, the GCG IT team knew they needed to deliver excellent uptime and a backup system that could also move data off-island for an added layer of redundancy. Previously, the San Juan-based data center for GCG would perform regular backups, but the company wasn’t able to store a full backup outside of the data center.

“When we started searching for a new IT solution, we prioritized off-site backup capabilities. Given the expertise of Scale Computing and the reliability of its HC3 Cloud Unity built on Google Cloud Platform, we are now much better equipped to handle emergencies.”

Ramon Vazquez Tous, Director of IT, Grupo Colon Gerena

This changed when the company began working with Scale Computing and its resources were housed on GCP. The scalable storage options and high uptime offered by GCP within HC3 Cloud Unity provide valuable reliability for backups. Archival data support within Cloud Storage allows Scale Computing to cost-effectively store large backups for extended periods of time. With HC3 Cloud Unity and its hybrid cloud architecture, GCG can easily and more securely bridge its on-premises and off-site resources. For backups, HC3 Cloud Unity offers extensive services such as regular snapshot and replication instances that keep data safely duplicated.

In addition, HC3 Cloud Unity provides quicker data restores when an event happens. With GCG and its old solution, backups needed to be loaded incrementally and would take several days to set up. By comparison, it only takes a few minutes to fully restore a backup via GCP and HC3 Cloud Unity.

“When we started searching for a new IT solution, we prioritized off-site backup capabilities,” says Ramon. “Given the expertise of Scale Computing and the reliability of its HC3 Cloud Unity built on Google Cloud Platform, we are now much better equipped to handle emergencies.”

Developing smarter scaling

GCG valued versatility when considering its future IT platform, and the restaurant group needed enterprise-level performance. Scale Computing drew upon its resources and GCP to make HC3 Cloud Unity a flexible platform that can grow to fit into GCG goals for expansion and sales growth.

“We used to have to set up individual, expensive contracts with data center suppliers. Because Scale manages these areas through hyperconvergence supported by Google Cloud, we’ve seen cost savings of nearly 50 percent that’ll benefit Grupo Colon Gerena. We don’t need to constantly monitor HC3 Cloud Unity and we’re confident the platform will grow with us.”

Ramon Vazquez Tous, Director of IT, Grupo Colon Gerena

For GCG, HC3 Cloud Unity is easy to use, and from a platform perspective, Compute Engine provides a powerful, agile foundation. Because of Compute Engine, Scale Computing doesn’t have to divert resources to in-house virtualization or cloud management and can emphasize improving ease of use and scalability, which customers such as GCG appreciate. GCP also helps HC3 Cloud Unity to dynamically expand or wind down in case of emergency scenarios, which produces improved platform efficiency and lower operating costs for GCG.

The hyperconverged architecture of HC3 Cloud Unity plays a big role in the platform’s utility. Because it fully incorporates areas including storage and server management into a single virtualized package, HC3 Cloud Unity improves processing efficiency. For example, storage is typically one of the more resource-intensive parts of a traditional infrastructure stack, but by consolidating this into the unified architecture of HC3 Cloud Unity, the whole system runs faster. Scale Computing also eliminates much of the IT administration for clients.

“We used to have to set up individual, expensive contracts with data center suppliers,” says Ramon. “Because Scale manages these areas through hyperconvergence supported by Google Cloud, we’ve seen cost savings of nearly 50 percent that’ll benefit GCG. We don’t need to constantly monitor HC3 Cloud Unity and we’re confident the platform will grow with us.”

Ramon continues: “When GCG brings up servers via HC3 Cloud Unity, it’s just like working in our on-premises environment. We’re saving administration and training time that can be directed towards higher-priority tasks. It’s fantastic.”

“As a hybrid cloud solution, HC3 Cloud Unity and its Google Cloud Platform foundation offers an outstanding combination of performance and efficiency. We’re a great option for customers such as Grupo Colon Gerena that want a powerful, reliable solution that works on-premises and in the cloud.”

Doug Howell, Global Director of Alliances, Scale Computing

Protecting against the unpredictable

With the partnership between Scale Computing and Google Cloud, GCG has a platform in HC3 Cloud Unity that takes care of difficult IT issues and helps protect the company from the threat of serious downtime.

“As a hybrid cloud solution, HC3 Cloud Unity and its Google Cloud Platform foundation offers an outstanding combination of performance and efficiency,” says Doug Howell, Global Director of Alliances, Scale Computing. “We’re a great option for customers such as Grupo Colon Gerena that want a powerful, reliable solution that works on-premises and in the cloud.”

About Grupo Colon Gerena

Grupo Colon Gerena is a restaurant management company that owns franchises of brands including Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Famous Daves, Sizzler’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster throughout Puerto Rico. The management group provides technology and operations support to its 113 restaurants and 6,500 employees.

Industries: Other
Location: United States

About Scale Computing

Scale Computing, a Google Cloud Technology Partner, offers hyperconverged storage and server solutions to business partners. With the HC3 Cloud Unity platform built on Google Cloud Platform, Scale Computing helps clients cost-effectively improve their data center performance.

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