Tesco Enhances Customer Experience by Upgrading DNS Platform

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Tesco Enhances Customer Experience by Upgrading DNS Platform

04/07/2009
In 2008, Tesco was facing the very complicated challenge of migrating their primary data center to a new facility. According to Jon Higgins, chief technology officer, Tesco, "this looked like a huge challenge, and we had to maintain our online service availability at 100 percent." Tesco originally thought this would take several months to accomplish and knew that there was a significant risk of downtime to customers.

In addition to the primary challenge of managing the migration of their data center efficiently and without downtime, Tesco was finding it increasingly difficult to manage their external Domain Name System (DNS) in-house. Their growth was demanding the implementation of many more name servers and an increase of labor to support the existing solution.

Paul Ellis, network manager of tesco.com, said that Tesco "had quite an aging platform for DNS. DNS was becoming more and more important and we had the option of upgrading all the DNS platforms, but that would not have given us the guaranteed uptime we required. The UK data centers not only support customer facing Web sites but also corporate email for their offices around the world. With their old, in-house solution, "call lookups from countries like India would go to the UK and back. This created large delays in resolution time."

Tesco ultimately decided it would outsource DNS to NeuStar's UltraDNS Managed DNS Service and chose UltraDNS for its ability to manage the data center migration and support its operations around the world in a cost-effective way. The retailer also chose the system due to its scalability to support the launch of new services and increased transaction volumes.

Initially, Tesco used UltraDNS' Traffic Controller service in conjunction with its Managed DNS Service to slowly migrate all internet traffic to their new data center. This allowed them to operate both data centers in parallel, test that the new data center was performing properly, and quickly revert back to the original data center if a problem was discovered.

"When we looked at using Traffic Controller to manage this migration, the benefits were obvious," says Higgins. "Our Web site availability needed to remain at 100 percent. Initially, the complexity of migrating the entire domain onto a new platform filled me with fear. Once we decided to use UltraDNS it became easy."

Tesco now utilizes the UltraDNS Managed DNS and Traffic Controller services to direct all external internet traffic to three different data centers in the UK, including e-mail lookups from overseas offices and customer Web queries.

Tesco now benefits from:

-A managed solution that ensures availability and quick resolution times for Tesco's external-facing Web Sites and Web applications/business operations.

-A solution built on a global directory services platform, consisting of strategically placed network nodes that span the globe. The nodes form an Oracle database-driven infrastructure that replicates globally in near real-time, ensuring that DNS requests are resolved with the very latest data.

-A solution that routes requests/queries to the closest available geographic network node. This type of geographic routing and redundancy ensures that Tesco will receive the quickest, most accurate DNS responses all day, everyday.

- An easy-to-use, secure, Web-based management portal provides administration tools to keep the DNS environment accurate. Whether it's the addition of a new domain or customizing Time-To-Live (TTL) settings for a specific DNS resource record, the management portal provides controls to administer the DNS infrastructure easily and securely.

-Traffic Controller offers weighted and global server load balancing, site monitoring, and fail-over, all in one solution. It optimizes traffic distribution and network performance at the DNS level. Intelligence at the DNS level allows distribution of internet traffic automatically across multiple servers and locations based on preset load-balancing parameters.

Tesco has plans to expand their uses of UltraDNS' services. They will begin using Traffic Controller as part of their disaster recovery solution in the near future. Longer-term, Tesco also wants to use UltraDNS for all of their business-to-business and supply chain activities.