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Betfair selects VMware vCloud to speed app development

Matthew Finnegan | May 6, 2013
Online betting exchange Betfair has implemented VMware’s vCloud as its attempts to redefine its IT department as a ‘service broker, delivering virtualised environments to its agile development team through software defined data centre tools.

"It is a big shift for us," James said of the project. "VMware have told us it is a pioneering service in the fact that it is software defined networking, software defined firewalling, and it is in essence a complete environment in a box which we can deploy."

"So we use everything as part of vCloud. We use vCOPS [vCenter Operations Manager] for us to actually understand what is going on in the environment. And instead of looking at a particular set of servers we can see the environment as a whole. That product also helps give us visibility into future demand in terms of who is using what, andwhere."

He added: "We use a vCloud Director product, and that enables us to template up these environments and actually deploy them and provision them dynamically. And then right down to their standard suite of tools like vSphere, and obviously the ESX."

James said that the replacement of Xen on its servers, which will be fully completed over the next 12 to 18 months, has not caused any problems for the IT department so far, with VMware a "much more stable" platform.

For Betfair's business the main benefit has been in giving its 'sprint' development teams the ability to move quickly as part of the agile software development methodology. This is vital in getting its product out to market before competitors, James said.

"The main business case around bringing in this solution was around the fact that we could speed up our sprint teams. They would [previously] have to make a request to the platform team, make a request to the storage team, make a request to the database team, [saying] 'I want a network update, I need a firewall change'. Or they would need to change all of that because the application dynamics have changed."

"They now come to us and say they will have a template, and they get it consistently and repeatedly, automated, there is ticket management behind it, they have a menu system, they can see what orders they have done before. And when they stop using it we can get rid of it so that we can maximise our utilisation."

He added: "That will improve our time to market for our products, which is obviously what gives our competitive advantage over other people in the marketplace."


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