Turbonomic Customer Success Story: Sky Betting & Gaming
So Saturday is always a busy day for sports and it means a busy day for our platforms. We see millions of pounds of transactions going through our platform every Saturday, so the performance of the site is absolutely critical. The customers are using our products in real time, 24 hours a day. If we have any lag, if we have difficulty serving pages because of internal performance problems, customers will simply walk away and use a competitor. So the cost of downtime can be highly significant to us; it’s about five figures per minute for any loss of service.
I’m Lee O’Donnell from Sky Betting and Gaming. I’m the director of IT infrastructure and security. My role involves making sure we deliver on our strategic projects and also keep the operations running 100% of the time. One of the things we talk about a lot internally is that we’re a technology business that happens to be in the betting industry. That means that we absolutely make the right choices in terms of innovative, cutting-edge technology to deliver products to market at high quality and ongoing availability ahead of our competitors. So our performance demands are pretty hard to meet. If we’re down for an hour, that’s a really catastrophic event for us in terms of availability. It will be, you know, six figure sums for that hour, even at quiet times of day. So getting the capacity right at the different parts of the stack simultaneously is critical to the customer experience.
Unpredictable events can mean interesting traffic patterns. So in Euro’s finals, you know, Ronaldo gets injured, which nobody was expecting, we see a huge demand into our systems with people going to check the status of their bets. So the operations team within infrastructure worked really hard to keep the platform running in optimum capacity all times. It used to take a lot of hours every week to manually map the applications to the right parts of the hardware, which is something we’ve been wanting to accelerate and move those people to spend their time more creatively and productively on strategic projects. So we’ve used VMware as a product for a long time and we’ve enjoyed using the tools. We felt like there was something better out there, though, in terms of automatically managing our demand.
We looked to use Turbonomic as a platform to help accelerate and automate our demands. There was a lot of buzz around the company and the product and to be honest, I didn’t really completely believe that the product could do what it did. So the only way to prove that was to try it out. The proof of the pudding is always to see a real workload managed with the product, rather than a synthetic or a lab test. So I think we got the platform up and running within a few hours. On one of our data centers, we saw some really good benefits straight away from what the product could do. I think the best thing about the product is you don’t have to go all in. You can actually configure just some parts of your stack, you can configure just the right level of automation to start with and as you get more comfortable, you can go deeper into the product and trust it more. As we got more confident, we then deployed it into our main production data centers, where it’s now managing our workloads.
There always used to be a lot of discussion around where potential performance problems were occurring and the nature of them and how to solve them. With Turbonomic in place, we’ve got the tool to actually do that for us and we can spend that time more productively elsewhere. We’ve been able to cut out a lot of the manual effort that went into capacity forecasting. It used to be quite basic things like Excel spreadsheets and lots of whiteboard conversations. Now we have Turbonomic in place; we’re able to free up some time and that’s now being invested in our next generation data center strategy. As a technology team, we’re always trying to continually improve our performance, be that capacity on site or the responsiveness to customer demands. We see it as a key differentiator versus our competitors in the marketplace. One of the things we actually identify as an actual product is the performance of the site because if customers trust they’re always gonna get high quality, fast response, they can get their bets on within seconds, that’s a real game-changer.