William Hill is a well-established bookmaker (or sportsbook). As almost every Brit knows, once a year in Britain there is a major event on the horse racing calendar known as The Grand National. This year it took place on April 10th. APIIDA has supported William Hill at this key event (along with other events) for the last 3 years.
The tasks include health checks of the API gateways, load testing, performance tuning, investigation of the external factors that can influence performance (load balancers, logging and monitoring systems, hypervisor infrastructure, etc.) and corresponding advice.
This year we spent five days with William Hill in the weeks leading up to the event, leading their gateway load tests and providing some extremely valuable advisory information which, left unaddressed, could easily have resulted in a complete outage of the production gateway suite. This year the accompanying races (April 8th & 9th) did not pose a major threat to the systems as traffic was easy to handle, but on April 10th 2021 (the main race day) traffic was very high from the early morning.
The gateways handled the high traffic perfectly, and in the traffic spike (the seconds after the end of the main race when EVERYONE checked their phone apps to see how much they had won (or lost)) the 48 production gateways saw one CPU spiked around 70% and no requests were canceled due to capacity issues.
William Hill was very pleased with the result. The event helped identify some more improvements that need to be made in the near future, but this will be the last Grand National for their on-prem gateway infrastructure as we at APIIDA and William Hill are currently completing their cloud migration to Complete AWS. There will be many challenges to overcome in the months leading up to the 2022 Grand National.
We will do our best to ensure that the new platform performs as well, if not better than the current one.