How Costa Coffee is reaping the rewards of archiving and compression

Having grown tremendously over the last decade, UK coffee brand Costa Coffee has to deal with a massive amount of data. With help from SQL Perform it is streamlining its systems and improving efficiency

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 31 July 2017
How Costa Coffee is reaping the rewards of archiving and compression

This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Record.

When the two Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa started their coffee shop in London in 1971, their only concern was to bring their passion for coffee to the UK. Today, Costa Coffee is a household name in almost 30 countries worldwide: it is sold at over 5,000 destinations – from traditional coffee shops through to the popular Costa Express machines that can be found in a variety of different outlets. 

The company’s success in this very competitive market is not coincidental. Costa’s extraordinary achievements are thanks to its continuous quest for quality, its concerns for sustainability and the environment, and its ambition based on ample experience. Not forgetting its signature Mocha Italia blend of coffee, of course.

As a rapidly growing company, Costa Coffee was witnessing an equally rapid rise in the amount of data it had to contend with. Keith Patterson, solutions architect at Costa Coffee explains: “Based on the size of the company and the growth of the business, we needed to archive some of the data we held in our core database, which was extremely large. If we didn’t take action, our database would have kept on growing at the rapid rate of approximately 12 gigabytes (GB) data per month.”

Costa Coffee decided to look for an archiving solution provider to help. “Our Microsoft Dynamics NAV agent highly recommended SQL Perform,” Keith Patterson explains. “The team at SQL Perform then gave us a very good demonstration of the capabilities and solutions they could offer, which suited our requirements perfectly.”

Costa and SQL Perform went on to split up the archiving effort in different phases. The first phase concerned the general ledger of the finance department and was the most urgent. “The archiving solution allowed us to move the oldest three years of data into a new archiving database,” Keith Patterson says. “We still have access to that information, but it is not held directly in the production database of our enterprise resource planning solution.” 

SQL Perform implemented the archiving seamlessly. “This first phase enabled Costa to reduce its production database by 75GB and 80 million records,” explains Adriaan Van Bauwel, SQL Perform’s managing director. 

The finance department immediately benefitted. “We have approximately 180 users working in the finance system, who could have been affected in many ways by the changes, but they experienced no transition problems at all,” Keith Patterson explains.

The following year, archiving was repeated with an enlarged scope, this time including posted documents in the sales and purchasing department. “This led to savings of 170GB and 177 million records,” says Van Bauwel. 

In 2017, the archiving scope has been extended even further to include customer, vendor and item ledger documents, leading to a saving of 190GB and 266 million records.

“With the archiving deployed at Costa Coffee, the resulting database size always oscillates around the same level,” Van Bauwel explains. “Every time archiving is executed, complete functionality of the archived records remains since users have complete visibility over the archived records.”

SQL Perform’s archiving solution helps Costa Coffee to have control over the growth of its Dynamics NAV database. “This contributes in keeping application performance stable and in executing all standard database maintenance tasks within the scheduled timeframes,” Van Bauwel adds. 

 Archiving will continue to be completed on an annual basis. “The advantages that this gives us are manifold,” says Keith Patterson. “It improves the performance of our systems and the suitability of our data in the future, as well as the efficiency of users, who are able to carry out their database searches quicker. Archiving is definitely worthwhile from a business point of view.” 

Overall, Costa Coffee is very happy about its cooperation with SQL Perform: “The solution works fantastically well,” concludes Keith Patterson. “We have formed a very good relationship with the SQL Perform team, which has a very interesting perspective and a wealth of knowledge. The team is very easy to work with, and is able to listen to our requirements and concerns. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow and develop our relationship.” 


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