Tesco goes private

Tuesday 26 February 2013


The UK retail giant Tesco is to adopt a private cloud infrastructure in order to host both its website and retail-related applications.  The company expects the transfer to be complete by mid-2013 and it will be housed in Tesco’s own datacentres.

Tomas Kadlec, IT Director for Infrastructure and Operations at Tesco, is keen on the transfer to a private cloud to make sure that the IT functionality becomes a background noise rather than a driving factor in innovation across Tesco’s range of services.  “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,” he said.

Kadlec continued to add that self-provisioning was, in itself, the most appealing part of the cloud.  He believed that the transfer would save Tesco money in the long run.  Indeed, Kadlec stated that the only way the adoption would not save money was if Tesco did something wrong.

“Our data centres are robust and we will adopt private cloud only to benefit from cloud’s self-provisioning capabilities,” Kadlec said.  He added that a customised internal cloud set up was considerably more effective, and was more secure and cheaper compared to the public cloud infrastructure.  He also stated that if private cloud did not work out to be any cheaper, then it meant that Tesco was doing something technologically wrong.

Increased security of the private cloud is also a factor.  “A customised internal cloud set up is far more effective, secure and cheaper than the public cloud infrastructure,” Kadlec said.

The move is driven by the IT team at Tesco’s, with the desire to deliver flexibility across the scale and limits of the facilities that the company possesses.  According to Kadlec, the private cloud would be highly customised to ensure it meets Tesco’s requirements.  The company’s infrastructure would be a hybrid of internal datacentres, a mix of public cloud and private cloud services.

One of the innovations that Kadlec believes will benefit from the use of the private cloud is the introduction of drive-thru stores that will allow customers to order online and collect their orders without getting out of their vehicles.  The company also hopes the changes will help develop a culture shift towards more flexible working.

Tesco will continue to use public cloud services for desktop and client-based services such as e-mail.

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