Tesco building private cloud to boost overseas expansion

Tesco is developing its own private cloud run in UK data centres to aid its expansion into overseas markets.

Speaking at the DatacenterDynamics Intelligence event in London last week, Tesco IT director for infrastructure and operations Tomas Kadlec, said that the company is attempting to simplify its global infrastructure in order to support the delivery of its range of retail, online and banking services.

Tesco is currently undergoing a project to consolidate its data centre operations in the UK, as well as growing its business and increasing the services it is offering overseas.

"The challenge we had was that there were plenty of data centre environments, but they were completely discrete and were not integrated, they were also loosely connected," said Kadlec.

Centralising operations

"Whenever we wanted to come up with a product that was consistently delivered for the customers, it was quite complicated," he added. "So to actually do operations between Tesco.com and retail, from an IT perspective they were completely different systems - two different data centres, two different management structures, two different networks."

Kadlec said that by centering its data centre operations in the UK, Tesco has already been able to support its e-commerce business in a number of other countries. This means that Tesco.com services in Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, China, Thailand and Malaysia are supported from its UK data centres.

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Kadlec added that as part of its ongoing data centre strategy, centralising more operations within the UK is under discussion. This has opened up business possibilities for the management of integral processes from within the UK, he said, such as logistic management for Malaysia, or ClubCard for China being run from UK data centres.

Private cloud

He added that setting up a private cloud this year would enable Tesco more freedom to establish new overseas businesses with less consideration towards hardware requirements.

"This year we would like to start to build a private cloud, allowing us to move from the world where infrastructure is driving the business projects and dictating the timeline, to pushing these accountabilities to the development teams," he said.

Last year Tesco said that it would use Nolio automated application release software to speed up the delivery of applications.

The company recently announced that it would be rolling out Office 365 cloud productivity tools across its global operations.