A short time ago I responded to our leadership team’s concerns that the grocery API, still very much an R&D project (and on its own service) at this time, may not cope with the load when we come to launch our mobile grocery applications soon.
Having built up some skills and experience in using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Computing platform, I offered that up as a possible solution. After all, the grocery API is built in Microsoft.Net as an ASP.Net application with a Microsoft SQL 2008 server database to manage sessions - it was a quick and easy task to convert and transfer it up into Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
So of course I told Tesco.com’s Infrastructure Design and Security team of my plans. They were not pleased. They were disappointed. Disappointed that I hadn’t sought their help first.
I argued that my R&D code was not something that should be put in a production context. “After all,” I said, “R&D code is here to prove the point and move on - hardly flawless”.
“Except,” pointed out Sam Hill, their team leader, “It’s not is it? You’ve created an API and got the leadership team all excited about the possibilities and the next thing we know is that mobile grocery apps are on their way, by the thousand. Didn’t you put on your blog 100,000 downloads of the Clubcard app in a week? Why didn’t you think of us when it came to hosting your API? We can cope with that load! If you are worried about your code, we can provide an isolated cloud service to host your API on, where it can’t reach any other part of our network!”.
I stood dumbfounded and somewhat humbled. Before me was Sam’s profound fact:
Tesco.com has its own private cloud computing service.
Sam may not call it a “cloud” but his team is proud that they have created a comprehensive hosting service with a fleet of hundreds of web servers connected to large number of business, database, and operations servers that all run our service. They are resilient, scalable, duplicatable, and mirrored in several data centres. That’s what they do to keep every site on the Tesco.com domain on the air 24/7.
They can bring more servers (both physical and virtual) into play during loads, then pare back and save power off-peak. They monitor performance, have the weapons capable of fending off viruses and denial-of-service attacks alongside a comprehensive firewall system. They are surrounded by ceiling mounted 32” HDTV screens with graphs that tell them of their cloud’s rude health. They know they have built an amazing system.
And I had gone and said “Azure” to the leadership team?
The Tesco version of Azure is what Sam designs for his living.
Or is that, the Microsoft version of the Tesco cloud is called "Azure".
We came first, after all!
The Tesco Grocery API will be hosted by Tesco.com.
Thank you, Sam and team.