Tesco cuts backup times by two thirds

Tesco has managed to cut down backup times of its online shopping databases by two-thirds. The supermarket giant did so by deploying database compression software from Quest Software.

The information required for the Tesco.com site to operate is held in a cluster of SQL Server databases. This includes information about all of the available products, billing and delivery information for the customers as well as any 'favourites' that they have saved. The company needed to cut down on the amount of time backing up these data as it was taking nearly five hours to complete and if any problems occurred with this backup, there was only just enough time in the company's eight hour back up window to re-run this.

The company turned to Quest Software and used its LiteSpeed for SQL Server product to shorten backup times. The supermarket implemented this on six of its SQL Servers and saw some "significant results".

"For instance, our 120GB SQL Server previously took 59 minutes to backup, and with LiteSpeed now takes 18 minutes," said Chris Howell, IT Manager of Operations and Infrastructure of Tesco.com. "This improvement means that we have ample time to deal with any backup problems, to ensure Tesco.com is always open."

He said that the risk of losing customers through backup hiccups had now been removed.

The online supermarket has also achieved storage capacity savings of around 62 percent through its use of the software.

"The 120GB SQL Server previously generated a 73GB native backup," noted Howell. "The backup has fallen to 28GB, and our other databases are experiencing similar reductions."

Tesco is now in the process of rolling out the software to 300 of its larger stores from where home deliveries dispatched and use SQL Server to process online orders.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.