TVG Network: A front runner in online horse racing

About Betfair US TVG Network

TVG Network is a U.S.-based online horse racing wagering business and sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by Dublin-based Paddy Power Betfair.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United States

About SADA Systems

SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with proven expertise in cloud consulting, migration, and deployment. Premier Partners help businesses of all sizes run better on Google Cloud, from building custom applications to offering managed services.

To avoid downtime on major race days when its hardware was often strained, TVG rebuilt its application from the ground up on Google Cloud Platform. It can now scale easily for major race days and other key events with 80% less IT involvement.

Google Cloud Results

  • Maximizes revenue by allowing customers to place bets faster and more confidently
  • Scales for major racing events with 80% less IT involvement and up to $500,000 annual savings
  • Improves time to market for new product releases by more than 30x
  • Helps enable richer mobile experiences to keep fans engaged

Processing up to 6,000 bets per minute

The first Saturday of May is the biggest horse racing event in North America each year. Minutes before the race, millions of dollars in online bets will flow in through advanced deposit wagering (ADW) operators such as TVG Network. For TVG’s IT team, it’s a high-stakes game: If wagering systems can’t handle thousands of requests per second, revenue and customers will be lost.

To avoid downtime before a major race, TVG used to bombard its systems with ad-hoc load tests a month in advance. Before each big race event, a team of seven people spent eight hours a week deploying new infrastructure and testing various scenarios. But with complex legacy systems and manual processes, the team’s efforts could only go so far. If an unexpected system issue or undetected bottleneck was found during the run-up to the big race, all bets were off.

“We chose Google Cloud Platform because it was the most reliable, cost-effective, and automated cloud solution available. We get better security, strong compliance, and the peace of mind that when the biggest race day rolls around, we won’t have any downtime.”

Tim Morrow, CTO, TVG Network

After a brush with downtime in 2016, TVG decided to move its ADW application to the cloud, taking the opportunity to rewrite the application to take advantage of modern, container-based architectures. After a short period of development on a different cloud services provider, TVG moved to Google Cloud Platform using Google Kubernetes Engine to automate container management and orchestration.

“We chose Google Cloud Platform because it was the most reliable, cost-effective, and automated cloud solution available,” says Tim Morrow, CTO at TVG Network. “We get better security, strong compliance, and the peace of mind that when the biggest race day rolls around, we won’t have any downtime.”

Placing the right bet

Moving to Google Cloud Platform gives TVG a variety of options in different regions and availability zones to satisfy regulatory requirements. Google Cloud Platform offers continuous availability and transparent maintenance, with no scheduled downtime or patching requirements.

“For our online wagering site, we prefer Google’s philosophy of continuous availability and live migration,” says Tim. “Having to plan for scheduled downtime of cloud instances just seems ridiculous in this day and age. And with Google Cloud Platform, we get much more consistent performance as we scale.”

“SADA Systems helped us gain a deeper understanding of the advantages of Google Cloud Platform so we could make better decisions about how our application would perform and scale. They provided the facilitation, follow-up, and expert advice we needed to make our deployment a success.”

Saeid Vafaeisefat, Vice President of IT, TVG Network

To keep its IT team focused on value-added tasks, TVG uses Google Cloud managed services such as Cloud Bigtable, a highly scalable NoSQL database, as well as Cloud Storage for backups and Cloud Pub/Sub for real-time messaging between applications.

“We like the software-defined nature of Google Cloud Platform,” says Saeid Vafaeisefat, Vice President of IT, TVG Network. “The managed services are so easy to use. Google Cloud Platform even helps us mitigate and absorb distributed denial of service attacks with its global load balancing features, which we don’t pay extra for.”

TVG worked with SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, for consulting and deployment assistance. “SADA Systems helped us gain a deeper understanding of the advantages of Google Cloud Platform so we could make better decisions about how our application would perform and scale,” says Saeid. “They provided the facilitation, follow-up, and expert advice we needed to make our deployment a success.”

“With Google Cloud Platform, we can scale for major racing events with 80% less IT involvement and up to $500,000 annual CapEx savings. Google Cloud Platform also gives us faster deployment—we’re releasing new enhancements to our wagering site four times a week instead of every two months.”

Tim Morrow, CTO, TVG Network

Scaling with 80% less work

With an active-active cloud architecture spanning multiple regions and the ability to conduct continuous, automated load tests, TVG no longer worries about downtime during major racing events—or any time, for that matter. Infrastructure and tools that used to be required to scale and provide resiliency are no longer needed, reducing CapEx. And with autoscaling replacing human intervention, accidental downtime is much less of a concern.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we can scale for major racing events with 80% less IT involvement and up to $500,000 annual CapEx savings,” says Tim. “Google Cloud Platform gives us faster deployment—we’re releasing new enhancements to our wagering site four times a week instead of every two months.”

More profitable user journeys

TVG’s success is being driven by ongoing modernization made possible in part by Google Cloud Platform, with TVG becoming the first U.S. operator to launch native iPhone and iPad apps. Lower latency means that stale data is never an issue, allowing customers to place bets faster and more confidently from anywhere they happen to be—which generates more revenue for TVG.

“Being on Google Cloud Platform has allowed us to develop our customer-facing channel faster while focusing on automated deployment and immutable infrastructure,” says Tim. “We have far greater confidence in our platform, and last year we broke records on our major race days while delivering an excellent customer experience.”

About Betfair US TVG Network

TVG Network is a U.S.-based online horse racing wagering business and sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by Dublin-based Paddy Power Betfair.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United States

About SADA Systems

SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with proven expertise in cloud consulting, migration, and deployment. Premier Partners help businesses of all sizes run better on Google Cloud, from building custom applications to offering managed services.

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