Mar 31, 2021

Microsoft Azure lays platform for BetKing’s gaming success

Microsoft
Betking
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Microsoft Azure lays platform for BetKing’s gaming success
Adrian Gatt and Eva Angelopoulou explain how it supports the sport betting site’s growth...

Microsoft is not simply the supplier of BetKing’s tech infrastructure, but also provides guidance and support for important stages of its digital transformation, including migrating to the cloud, and utilising tools and services such as Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks and Azure Data Factory.

The Microsoft account team’s relationship with BetKing and the team behind their platform began in Summer 2019, while before that time BetKing worked primarily with Microsoft partners, said Adrian Gatt, iGaming Business Development Manager. 

Eva Angelopoulou, who is responsible for Azure and its Data and AI technologies, said: “Initially we migrated the whole infrastructure onto Azure, to ensure agility with minimum maintenance and administration, and they maintained their own on-premise data center as Disaster Recovery site. In the second phase, we moved that over as well.”

Microsoft provided BetKing with technical guidance, governance and best practices, and involved a team of Azure engineers to ensure a smooth transition. “We have invested a lot of effort in streamlining the support experience and discussed their concerns with regards to regulation and potential hybrid approach to cover data sovereignty needs, as iGaming is a highly regulated industry,” she added.

Gatt said its primary focus is to support the organisation as it goes through its M&A cycle, and enhance the platform’s monitoring. “We are making sure the customer’s Azure platform is more resilient in view of expansion into new markets, helping modernise applications and infrastructure, develop and infuse AI into their platform, and enhance Azure skills of BetKing’s technical team through our skilling initiatives,” he said.

“BetKing now has a cloud-only Azure set up but this is an ongoing journey, with more cloud services and continuous modernisation of applications and infrastructure.”

Microsoft ensures that all capabilities that can bring value are recommended and adopted – a case in point being the use of Azure Synapse, an integrated analytics service that can be implemented across data warehouses and big data systems.

Angelopoulou said BetKing has identified that data is the future and will be channelling investment into reporting, insights and machine learning. 

“Big data analytics has been discussed throughout many workshops and it is our plan to support them with core investment in piloting new AI technologies to achieve personalised recommendations, fraud detection, VIP prediction, bonus recommendations, churn predictions and digital agents to help users through the platform, and any other AI tools which can help them gain market share and grow their business.”

Consultative services are also a part of Microsoft’s armoury, such as sharing best practice, ideas and trends in the gaming industry, and discussing ready Microsoft partners’ solutions that can be used to improve end users’ experience or grow the platform, thereby improving time-to-market and innovation journeys. 

“Our mission is to ensure that we’re seen as a partner that enables BetKing to make an increased impact in their markets – we don’t want to be seen as just a vendor, and our customers to be dependent on us. We want them to be independent with us,” said Gatt.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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