Online Gaming Firm Implements Real-Time Analytics and Scales for Planned Growth
BetOnSoft develops and manages more than 110 online casino games, played every day by thousands of players worldwide. The company needed to ensure that its games are highly available, because players are online around the clock. BetOnSoft also wanted to prepare for business growth by scaling its database while maintaining application responsiveness. In addition, its applications must perform key business-critical analytics in real time. In November 2011, the company deployed a hybrid application solution that takes advantage of the high-availability features in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn and the scalability of SQL Azure. Now, the company’s infrastructure can exceed 10 times its previous peak loads while running intensive real-time data analytics. BetOnSoft has achieved the availability it needs and can use its hybrid infrastructure to scale to meet unexpected business growth.
BetOnSoft began deploying a new solution in July 2011, when it upgraded its database servers and database software. At that time, the company implemented Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 x64 Enterprise data management software on two Dell PowerEdge R810 server computers with four 8-core processors and 256 megabytes of RAM..
Each server contains a 640-gigabyte and a 1.2-terabyte memory card made by Fusion-io, a storage-memory company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fusion-io memory cards can improve processing capabilities in a data center by relocating active data from centralized storage to the server where it is being processed. This can help reduce latency while also increasing data-center efficiency.
In late 2011, BetOnSoft decided to upgrade further to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. “We had been very happy with SQL Server 2008 R2 overall,” says Pullen. “But we saw features in SQL Server 2012 that we knew would help us with availability, scalability, and performance.”
One of those features is SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, a new high-availability and disaster-recovery solution through which customers can query data in replica databases and conduct backup operations from those replicas. AlwaysOn includes availability groups that support a failover environment for a set of user databases that fail over collectively. This feature also includes the AlwaysOn availability group listener, which contributes to easier application server configuration and redundancy.
Additionally, AlwaysOn provides readable database mirror capabilities. The replica databases provide read-only access for use in reporting and backup, which serves to offload some of the primary server’s workload.
“SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn was the key driver for us,” Pullen says. “Between the availability groups, the readable mirror for offloading reporting and database checking, and the listener, we knew we would increase our availability with SQL Server 2012.”
“Typical data architectures for e-commerce applications involve a high-throughput online transaction processing (OLTP) database from which data is fed into a downstream data warehouse,” says Devan Govender, Chief Software Architect, BetOnSoft. “Data analysis is then usually run on the warehouse, which can be several seconds or even minutes behind. Even small delays are not tolerable in the market-leading gaming products we are building.”
BetOnSoft architected its applications around SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, Fusion-io storage, and strategic hardware and network configurations to take advantage of the benefits provided by this platform and achieve its product and performance goals. Govender says, “SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn is a key part of our solution to achieve real-time results.”
- Processes 10 times previous workload while running real-time analysis
- Increases availability for mission-critical applications
- Provides hybrid IT structure to accommodate scalability
- Simplifies administration
- Enhances service to operators
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