With household names such as Rainbow Riches Casino, Virgin Games and Monopoly Casino in its portfolio, Gamesys Group plc is one of the world’s foremost gaming operators and part of the FTSE 250. With more than 25 million players globally across its casino and bingo games, it employs over 1,500 people and reported £415 million in revenue in 2019.
The volume of data the company holds is huge. Gamesys has been at the forefront of big data for many years, with everyone in the company used to dealing with data insights and making commercial decisions based on the behaviour of its customers.
Taking a different approach
This level of data has not been accumulated without problems, however. Like any data-centred company with nearly 20 years of history, there was a large legacy to contend with. The data warehouse was over ten years old, and it was time to move on and remove the overhead in maintaining the old platform.
Robin Hayden, Chief Data Officer at Gamesys, says: “We needed to create a platform that was more efficient and something that was better suited to all the changes that have happened in the last 10 years. For us, that meant moving to the cloud. You can treat the cloud like an infinite resource, providing you manage costs carefully. Because you don’t have fixed resources, you can scale up and down as necessary. The cloud brings other benefits, such as the ability to experiment and evolve your capability quickly, making you more competitive.
Cost-effective, experienced and GCP-certified
Choosing Red Olive to help on this project was an easy decision. Robin says: “I had worked with Red Olive before when I was at The Telegraph, where the team helped move the systems from a traditional warehousing platform to the cloud. Red Olive was cost-effective, had done it before and was GCP certified. It was a no-brainer.”
“We had chosen Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to start our journey away from our existing IBM Db2 solution. Google’s offering is very aligned with what we wanted, which is for the cloud provider to do most of the routine work for us. With GCP, you do no management of the actual database cluster, for example, and the flagship products such as BigQuery are very friendly to use. Red Olive is GCP certified, so the team really understands the platform.
Red Olive used its in-house developed accelerator to speed up Gamesys’ migration to GCP. The Red Olive Simplified Integration Engine (ROSIE) is a Python-based data transformation engine that runs inside a container, so it is self-contained and won’t interfere with the wider technology environment. It significantly reduces the time and cost needed to make the switch to the GCP by allowing companies to use the SQL experience of their in-house teams. As well as enabling Gamesys to deliver results faster, ROSIE formed the basis for the ETL engine that Gamesys now has in place throughout the company.
Growing revenue while transforming
Gamesys is approaching the end of the first phase of the project. With a hybrid cloud solution now in place, it is likely to be a journey that takes a few years to complete. Robin sees this as a good thing: “Migrating all of our data in one go would have been an enormous exercise and it would have been impossible to service all the business requirements we did at the same time. This approach significantly reduced the business risk. Implementing GCP with Red Olive’s help enabled us to offload our non-differentiating work to the cloud, allowing us to focus on the areas that add value to the business.”