Bet365 is looking for new IT talent to help it develop systems that will give the online gambling company a competitive edge.
The company wants to recruit people who can help it develop new systems that “aren’t constrained in the way existing systems are”, according to Martin Davies, CTO of bet365.
“We are always on the lookout for more talented people,” Davies said. “For example we want people who understand low latency systems and how they work.”
He added that Java skills are also required for the company’s primary core, and Microsoft SQL server, .Net and C# skills are needed for bet365’s main transactional system.
The technology constraint that Davies referred to was the traditional relational database management system, which he said can be challenging to scale in an increasingly web-based environment. For instance, this has forced major web-based companies like Facebook and Amazon to develop their own NoSQL technologies (Cassandra and Dynamo, respectively).
Bet365, which went live in 2001, currently employs more than 1,400 employees in Stoke-on-Trent. More than 300 of the staff are in IT, which includes around 160 developers and the rest employed in supporting functions, infrastructure, database administration and so on.
A strong team is needed to support the company’s heavy IT load. Between 450,000 and 650,000 bets available on the bet365 website at any one time, and during busy periods, the company can find itself peaking at a bandwidth of 3.35GB per second – as it did last weekend during the goal-filled Premier League football matches. A typical day would see only750MB per second on average.
“[We make] 2,000 changes per second overall on content - multiplied by 17 languages.
“We are making a large volume of changes with very low latency and we are also processing that through a very complex system,” Davies explained.
Bet365 aims to have a latency period of just two seconds between changes being made on its systems and for those changes to be seen by the customer. It delivers the real-time data on an in-house-designed system, and uses a third-party application called Diffusion to connect to the browser.
One of the things it has done to achieve this is by using a Comet web application model, which provides a permanent connection between bet365’s system and the customer system, rather than having an application that waits for the browser to be refreshed manually, for example.
“All of those systems are deployed into a virtualised environment. That’s running on VMware, Dsphere and vFabric. We started the virtualised environment about two years ago and we have around 1,000 virtualised systems now,” said Davies.
Though he added: “We can’t run everything through virtualisation because quite a lot [of systems] are running on a very heavy load - but where we can share resources, we do.”
The company has 1,500 physical servers, according to Davies’ most recent count two months ago. These range from those occupying a single rack space to a fully-loaded HP Superdome system with a 64-bit CPU and half a terabyte of memory.
Davies said that his company invests in the IT infrastructure on a weekly basis, which includes projects such as improving scalability and business continuity systems.
“Part of what we are trying to use with [VMware’s data management application] GemFire is to do high-speed replication of the data centres,” he said.
However, while bet365 uses a private cloud solution, based on the VMware stack, vFabric, Davies was cautious about the public cloud.
“The issue with public cloud is getting an SLA [Service Level Agreement] and making sure we can deliver the SLA we are looking for.
“We don’t currently use [public] cloud and whether we do in the future, I’m not sure. Our SLAs for delivering data are so very demanding on the systems that we have,” he said.