About the Company

The British Library , established in 1973, is the national library of the United Kingdom and provides access to the world’s most comprehensive research collection. They provide information services to academic, business, research, and scientific communities.

The Library’s collection of over 170 million items includes artifacts from every age of written civilisation. They keep the nation’s archive of printed and digital publications and add around three million new items to their collection every year.

As well as books, the Library manages a multitude of other materials, including newspapers, sound recordings, patents, prints and drawings, maps, and manuscripts.

The Challenge

Given the age and the size of the organization, The British Library has many systems and manages a huge amount of data. These systems are mainly backed by SQL Server, but they also maintain several MongoDB-based systems. These systems hold item metadata, which is accessible to external reference organizations, allowing them to freely keep up-to-date with details of items stored in the library’s Digital Collections.

The British Library’s major challenges relate to cost and time, now more than ever. MongoDB was initially chosen due to the functionality offered and the fact that it was freely usable, but still supportable by MongoDB. Once up and running, their MongoDB database had a relatively low maintenance overhead, allowing the Library to concentrate their time where most needed.

However, they were faced with a change of support subscription model, and the only options available were a move to MongoDB Atlas or MongoDB Enterprise Advanced. Neither alternative met the needs of The British Library’s, which wanted to continue with minimal changes, and under strict budgetary restrictions.

The Solution

Percona adapted their offering to meet the functional and budgetary constraints of The British Library. As a result the Library engaged Percona to provide MongoDB Support for their on-premises systems.

This relationship is also expanding as The British Library plans to implement Percona Monitoring and Management and Percona Backup for MongoDB. This combination of complementary open source solutions will give The British Library greater visibility of their existing systems, along with a robust backup solution.

How Percona Made a Difference

Percona were able to offer support coverage and maintenance tools without requiring The British Library to make any change to their MongoDB infrastructure, and all at a comparable cost. The additional support of their production systems, which the Library was not able to provide themselves, has also proved essential.

Stephen Parker added, “working with Percona thus far has been an absolute breath of fresh air. Every interaction has been friendly, informative, detailed, and I’ve always felt that our needs and requirements have been treated as the most important aspect, with Percona detailing how they can best suit our needs, rather than telling us how we must fit in with theirs.

Working with an established support vendor like Percona allows us to be more effective and efficient in all the work we do. My experience of Percona is that they’ve constantly acted with clarity, honesty, and integrity, values which I’m very happy to see in any working relationship.

Stephen Parker DBA, British Library


The British Library uses Percona to provide:

They are also in the process of implementing:



British Library

British Library

The British Library, established in 1973, is the national library of the United Kingdom and provides access to the world’s most comprehensive research collection. They provide information services to academic, business, research, and scientific communities.