TVG Network is a U.S.-based online horse racing wagering business and sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by Dublin-based Paddy Power Betfair.
The first Saturday of May is the biggest horse racing event in North America each year. Minutes before the race, millions of dollars in online bets will flow in through advanced deposit wagering (ADW) operators such as TVG Network. For TVG’s IT team, it’s a high-stakes game: If wagering systems can’t handle thousands of requests per second, revenue and customers will be lost.
To avoid downtime before a major race, TVG used to bombard its systems with ad-hoc load tests a month in advance. Before each big race event, a team of seven people spent eight hours a week deploying new infrastructure and testing various scenarios. But with complex legacy systems and manual processes, the team’s efforts could only go so far. If an unexpected system issue or undetected bottleneck was found during the run-up to the big race, all bets were off.
After a brush with downtime in 2016, TVG decided to move its ADW application to the cloud, taking the opportunity to rewrite the application to take advantage of modern, container-based architectures. After a short period of development on a different cloud services provider, TVG moved to Google Cloud Platform using Google Kubernetes Engine to automate container management and orchestration.
“We chose Google Cloud Platform because it was the most reliable, cost-effective, and automated cloud solution available,” says Tim Morrow, CTO at TVG Network. “We get better security, strong compliance, and the peace of mind that when the biggest race day rolls around, we won’t have any downtime.”
To keep its IT team focused on value-added tasks, TVG uses Google Cloud managed services such as Cloud Bigtable, a highly scalable NoSQL database, as well as Cloud Storage for backups and Cloud Pub/Sub for real-time messaging between applications.
“We like the software-defined nature of Google Cloud Platform,” says Saeid Vafaeisefat, Vice President of IT, TVG Network. “The managed services are so easy to use. Google Cloud Platform even helps us mitigate and absorb distributed denial of service attacks with its global load balancing features, which we don’t pay extra for.”
TVG worked with SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, for consulting and deployment assistance.
“SADA Systems helped us gain a deeper understanding of the advantages of Google Cloud Platform so we could make better decisions about how our application would perform and scale,” says Saeid. “They provided the facilitation, follow-up, and expert advice we needed to make our deployment a success.”
Google Cloud benefits
- Maximizes revenue by allowing customers to place bets faster and more confidently
- Scales for major racing events with 80% less IT involvement and up to $500,000 annual savings
- Improves time to market for new product releases by more than 30x
- Helps enable richer mobile experiences to keep fans engaged