Tesco HSC Banks on Cloud and Green Technologies

by Manu Sharma    Jan 25, 2010

Tesco (HSC), a leading global retail chain driven by next generation technologies, plans to launch its Cash n Carry or B2B format outlets in Mumbai by year-end.

The company, which is among the top three retailers in the world, is actively pushing technologies like cloud computing and virtualization to cut infrastructure costs and make the IT set-up more secure.

"We are a leading player globally and have proven experience in setting up robust IT infrastructure. The company is actively pushing for virtualization that has resulted in reduction of data centers from 1,500 to less than a 100 now," said Mike NcNamara, operations development and IT director of Tesco.

Set up in 2004, Tesco Hindustan Centre (HSC) is the global service arm for Tesco with over 4,000 people. Tesco HSC provides IT, business, commercial and financial service support to Tesco globally.

The IT service group is involved in designing, developing, testing and managing IT applications that are critical for retail life cycle. This arm also owns the deployment, servicing and maintenance of Tesco operating model and specializes in Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM). 

Looking at the evolutionary changes happening on the cloud computing space, Tesco is actively pushing internal applications on the cloud. During the last six months, the company has set up an internal private cloud and hosted several data management applications. "During the experiential phase, we found this technology yielding good results and so will push many more applications on the cloud going forward," said McNamara.

On the virtualization front, Tesco has created a complete virtual environment across all the centres. The group that had 1,500 data centers across the globe has now virtualized them into less than 100 data centers. "We have been going strong on the green data centers and today have less that 88 data centers and our utilization has gone up from just 10% to over 90% due to virtualization," said McNamara .    

However, the company has all its data centers located in the UK and none in India. The Bangalore centre has a test lab wherein they develop retail software and deploy across all the retail outlets. In fact, Tesco develops 60-70% of its IT software out of the Bangalore office and deployed across 4,308 outlets in 14 countries.

Tesco also has a strong presence for its online sales in UK, Ireland and Korea. Currently, about 20% of the sales are from online business and going forward Tesco expects large growth on its online business. "Tesco has a strong Supply Chain Management that was again developed from the Bangalore centre," said McNamara .