William Hill is a well-established bookmaker (or sports betting company). As almost every British person knows, once a year in the UK there is a key event in the horse racing calendar known as The Grand National. This year it was held on the 10th April. APIIDA has supported William Hill with this key event (along with other events) for the past 3 years. Tasks for the event include Gateway health checks, load testing, performance tuning, studying the external factors which may affect performance (load balancers, logging & monitoring systems, hypervisor infrastructure etc) and advising accordingly.
This year we spent 5 days with William Hill over the few weeks before the event, managed their gateway load testing and provided some extremely valuable advisory information which without action could have easily resulted in complete failure of the production gateway suite. This year the supporting races (8th& 9th April) didn’t pose much threat to the systems as the traffic was easily manageable, but on the 10th April 2021 (the main race day) the traffic influx was high from early in the morning.
The gateways handled the high rate of traffic perfectly and at the traffic peak (the seconds after the main race finished and EVERYONE checked their phone apps to see how much they’d won (or lost)) the 48 production gateways saw a CPU peak of around 70% and no requests were dropped due to capacity issues.
William Hill was extremely happy with the result.
The event did help identify some further improvements which need to be actioned 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 finalising their cloud migration to AWS. There will be many challenges to overcome in the next few months before Grand National 2022. We will do our best to ensure the new platform will perform as well, if not better than their current one.