Betclic, part of the Betclic Everest Group, is one of the leading companies in the dynamic and demanding world of online gaming. Available in 100 countries and with over one million customers worldwide, Betclic operates from two production data centres in Paris (serving the web front-end) and Gibraltar (database functions). Providing customers with a website that is reliable and responsive is critical to Betclic’s success.
To be a leader in online gaming requires unbeatable service. That means high availability from a responsive website – whatever demand spikes the sporting world produces. Being an international leader requires not just local languages but meeting the demands of multiple legal jurisdictions. Betclic’s rapid expansion has coincided with the deregulation of gaming in national markets and this has required the company to cost-effectively meet local regulatory requirements while maintaining service levels. Each country may require a different infrastructure – perhaps just a local language website in one, but separate physical web servers in another – but customers demand the same great service levels, regardless. Betclic needed to find a way to meet these demands cost-effectively while also maintaining a robust platform for rapid growth.
Infrastructure Manager Ross Manthorpe’s team has deployed Citrix NetScaler® MPX 12500 units in its Paris data centre. Configured to ensure high availability, the units are paired to provide redundancy. Sitting in front of the company’s web servers they provide services (load balancing, SSL offloading and compression) that have dramatically reduced the number of individual web servers required while also speeding page load times for customers. Betclic uses NetScaler’s ability to rapidly inspect HTTP requests and optimise routing to provide the fastest, most efficient response. Some requests are redirected to Betclic’s content delivery network; others pass through to the firm’s core servers. At peak times, NetScaler handles around 5.000 SSL transactions per second representing around 70.000 individual client connections per day. Betclic also uses NetScaler MPX 10500 units in its test environment.
Despite exponential business growth over the last four years, Betclic has contained the size of its web server estate. Its core Betclic.com and Betclic.fr sites run on just 12 web servers each with NetScaler reducing an average of 50-60.000 client connections to just 2.000 web server connections, a ratio of 30:1.
Not only has Manthorpe’s team avoided the cost of huge growth within their server farm environment but using NetScaler’s compression technology and taking an innovative approach to request handling, they have reduced bandwidth costs by 40%.
At the same time, Betclic’s use of NetScaler enables it to meet local regulatory requirements with minimal fuss while also improving website performance for gamers. Internally too, the Betclic team see benefits in configuration, roll-out and training. New services are easily commissioned using established NetScaler configurations and new staff quickly become comfortable with the technology.
“NetScaler has an exceptionally good user interface: very intuitive, very stable. It doesn’t take people long to pick up the basics of these boxes and very quickly move on to the more advanced functionality,” states Manthorpe.
Betclic is about to provision its new disaster recovery centre which will include additional NetScaler MPX 12500 units. At the same time, Manthorpe’s team continues to explore NetScaler’s capabilities within their production environment. They have begun to use Content Switching to avoid complex and time-consuming routing on the web servers, further enhancing response times for customers and spreading the workload across their server farm.
With traffic continuing to grow, Betclic is considering a future upgrade to higher capacity NetScaler MPX 15500 units.
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