by Hamish Barwick

Tatts Group bets on storage upgrade

Aug 28, 20133 mins
Data MiningNetworking

A storage system upgrade has helped wagering and gaming company Tatts Group reduce network outages by 90 per cent, according to its CTO Matthew Maw.

“In the last 12 months, we have run at 100 per cent uptime for our storage area network [SAN] environment, which we have never achieved before in a 12-month period,” said Maw.

It is vital that Tatts Group’s network stays up and running, particularly during sporting events when the organisation experiences high traffic. On Melbourne Cup Day last year, the company processed 5000 transactions every second through its retail and online networks. If an outage occurred, this would lead to loss of revenue.

The organisation’s network has more than 10,500 distribution points across Australia including newsagents, pubs and racecourses. During the 2011-12 financial year it handled $5.7 billion in transactions and turned over $3.7 billion in revenue.

If the company’s network does fail, it has levels of redundancy and failover capability that allows it to keep systems operational, said Maw. The company has no manual backup.

“If the systems go down during a Lotto draw or horserace, we can’t sell tickets on that event so we lose money.”

Maw told CIO Australia the reliability provided by the upgrade has helped the organisation increase revenue. “Our revenues are up by 11 per cent and profits up nearly 40 per cent.”

The new storage network was deployed by Dimension Data and is based on one EMC Symmetrix storage array and Cisco MDS switches.

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  • The company also undertook a refresh of its two Brisbane data centres, which involved the core network, data protection and load balancing. This will allow it to use the facilities for the next 10 years as the company continues to expand its retail and online offerings.

    Maw said that online presents some challenges for Tatts Group.

    “Seventy per cent of wagering sales come from retail so that gives us a profile of those betting capabilities. We have a fixed number of terminal in retail so we can ensure those systems are able to meet heavy loads,” he said.

    “As we transition into an online environment, that measurement disappears. We can’t determine how many people are going to hit `sell bet’ at that same time so that means we need to be much more prepared for the unknowns.”

    Turning to other IT projects, Tatts Group is considering moving its non-core processing applications to the cloud in the next three months.

    “We have a lot of capacity which we allocate to our testing and development environment. During Spring Carnival there is the possibility that we take those environments, relocate them to the cloud and re-use that infrastructure to beef up capacity for that busy period,” Maw said.

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