Tesco to host private cloud infrastructure within its internal datacentres

Tesco will run a private cloud infrastructure from its internal datacentre to host its website and retail related apps

Tesco will adopt private cloud infrastructure to host its website and retail related applications by mid-2013.

The private cloud will be hosted within its own internal datacentres which are “cloud-ready” after the retailer’s virtualisation and datacentre consolidation projects last year.

“This year we would like to build our private cloud so that we move from the world where our IT infrastructure drives the business projects and determines the timeline to a world where infrastructure just sits in the backdrop supporting all business plans,” said Tesco’s IT director for infrastructure and operations, Tomas Kadlec at the International Datacentre Strategy event by DatacenterDynamics Intelligence.

The retail giant has already started the tendering process for its private cloud infrastructure. “We are looking at about 20 suppliers right now which includes a mix of integrators and private cloud service providers,” Kadlec told Computer Weekly.

“Self-provisioning is the most appealing part of the cloud,” Kadlec said. But Tesco already has a WAN optimised, secure, resilient and high-bandwidth internal datacentre. “So we will add elements of private cloud within our in-house facilities,” he said.

The private cloud infrastructure, which will be ready by mid-2013, will be a highly customised one, Kadlec said. “Our infrastructure will be a hybrid of internal datacentres, private cloud and public cloud services,” he said.

The retailer will host all the sensitive and mission critical applications in its in-house facility and use the private cloud for hosting web services as well as other applications such as float analytics and back office apps. The retailer will migrate about 2000 servers on to the private cloud.

It will use public cloud only for desktop or email client services such as in the form of Microsoft Office 365.

Earlier this month, Tesco signed a deal to roll-out Microsoft Office 365 across its Europe and Asian operations. Mike McNamara, Tesco CIO, at that time said the deal would encourage a culture shift to more flexible working.

“Public cloud is easy to get on to but very difficult to get off,” Kadlec said.

Tesco’s IT team wanted to deliver cloud-like flexibility but do it within the scale, size and economical limits of its own facilities.

“Our datacentres are robust and we will adopt private cloud only to benefit from cloud’s self-provisioning capabilities,” Kadlec said. “A customised internal cloud set up is far more effective, secure and cheaper than the public cloud infrastructure.”

“It is cheaper because I don’t have to pay for the public cloud provider’s margin. I am hosting the infrastructure in my own site,” he said.

“If it was not going to be cheaper, then it means that we were doing something wrong technologically.”

The private cloud will also help Tesco support its future growth plans and its “drive through” stores where users can collect their online orders without even stepping out of their cars, Kadlec said.

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