Betting World rolls out Microsoft solution

Johannesburg, 12 Dec 2014

Founded in 2000, Betting World is one of SA's most exciting operators in the fixed-odds horse racing and sports betting market.

Wholly-owned by JSE-listed Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, Africa's largest horse racing and tote betting company, Betting World's primary objective is to provide customers with exceptional service and innovative product offerings.

These services include professional betting channels via a nationwide retail footprint, regional call centres, a Web site and a mobile betting platform.

To date, the organisation has expanded to incorporate 57 physical branches located throughout SA that allow punters to place bets on local and international horseracing and sporting events within the realms of cricket, soccer, rugby, tennis, golf and boxing.

Betting World's 'always on' wagering service operates on the foundation of a comprehensive technical framework. Without this the company would be unable to function effectively. This system sits at the very heart of the business, supporting transactions and payments both online and at a branch level.

After experiencing rapid growth at the hands of a booming market, the organisation recognised that it needed to revise its IT support structures in order to support the planned strategic growth of the organisation. Over time its legacy systems had impacted on the organisation's ability to process requests and had resulted in performance issues. Uptime, performance and redundancy were identified as key areas for improvement. With this in mind, Betting World began searching for a partner to help implement a system that could provide 24/7 availability in any event.

After a thorough engagement with Microsoft Certified Partner First Technology EDS (formerly known as Kaizen Business Intelligence), Betting World took the decision to upgrade its SQL-based wagering system to operate using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition. This direction was based on the identification of weaknesses within Betting World's SQL indexing process.

Following consultation with First Technology EDS and Microsoft South Africa, Betting World opted to split its reporting and transactional data loads - allowing the workload to be spread across available computing resources. Microsoft's Always-On technology available in the Enterprise edition of SQL 2012 was utilised to build a high-availability environment, ultimately enabling both maximum uptime as well as channelled workloads. This architecture ensured that day to day operations no longer affected the heart of Betting World's business - the transactional betting system.

"Our decision to move over to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 was based on the belief that it could index and report on the considerable amounts of data we receive on a daily basis without sacrificing uptime. It was critical that we built 24/7 availability and redundancy into the platform. Microsoft South Africa and First Technology EDS assisted considerably by providing valuable insight and subsequently setting up the cluster and migrating our existing framework to two different databases," adds Marc Joubert, Betting World GM.

The benefits experienced as a result of Betting World's decision to build a new architecture based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 have been numerous. The project was initiated in May 2014 with a view towards preparing for the Vodacom Durban July, which is Betting World's busiest day of the year. Ultimately the engagement proved a successful one, adds Joubert.

"Consultants from First Technology EDS joined us in Durban six weeks prior to the migration to discuss how best to prepare for the Durban July. The move proved to be effortless and we were able to offer a smooth and fully-operational service to our customers during the event. For us this was the true litmus test. Our newly-introduced IT framework passed with flying colours. In the months since the initial migration, First Technology EDS's expertise and experience coupled with Microsoft's tried-and-tested platform has proved to be a winning formula for Betting World," says Joubert.

"Having a knowledgeable and practised Microsoft Partner like First Technology EDS to assist us throughout the process has been invaluable. We lacked a skill set in SQL enterprise and the company was able to give us honest, unbiased and ultimately constructive input. This, in conjunction with Microsoft's SQL Server 2012, has given us peace of mind that we have a fully-operational foundation in place to facilitate our growth into the future."


Editorial contacts

Dan Erasmus
First Technology
(+27) 11 790 4400