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Israeli company GigaSpaces has a solution that is looking for a problem – and it’s one that the online gaming community could benefit from hugely. And with the area between online and land-based gaming blurring by the day, so could bricks-and-mortar casinos; GigaSpaces promises full scalability tailored to your system’s needs, without the cost of upgrading an entire middleware system. Jim Liddle, Sales and Operations Manager for Northern Europe, explained to Casino International.
Casino International: What does GigaSpaces do?
Jim Liddle: What we do is supply an end-to-end application scalability platform that can handle extremely large data volumes and can be scaled up or down in real time. The whole thing is ultra-fast because everything runs in memory; imagine taking a traditional middleware architecture stack and compressing it, so rather than having an application tier, presentation tier, database tier and so on, and putting it all in one container, and running the whole thing from memory. That’s what GigaSpaces does.
CI: What other industries do you work in?
JL: We have history in financial services; we crossed the chasm to that area before we started to look at any other industries. Why? Because it deals with incredibly low latency and incredibly high volumes of data, and they have a competitive edge to maintain. Our proposition plays very well to that industry, and they tend to take on innovative technologies early; telecommunications is the only other industry that adopts technology so early. They deal with similar challenges to the finance industry. One day you might have 100 people using a product a company puts out via social networking, for example, but the next day it might be 150,000 people. So how do you deal with real-time scaling, the lowest possible latency with transaction processing… it’s all equally applicable to that domain.
CI: What are you bringing to online gaming that doesn’t already exist?
JL: If you look at most gaming infrastructures, they are probably built around the monolithic application structures I mentioned earlier. They’ll probably be tier based, they’re tweaked to extremes in order to be able to scale to any extent, and when they’re built, they are built to their peak to cope with peak capacity, which is expensive. Even so, you could still have a spike that could bring a site down.
We’re bringing a proven tool from the finance industry and making it available to the gaming industry.
CI: Many land-based casinos are moving into the online gaming world and they’re seeing how an online space can tie into a mobile/ smartphone space, which is also tied to the backoffice system and loyalty system in the actual casino; where do you fit into that?
JL: The infrastructure that the casinos have is where we fit in. What we’re finding is that casinos have challenges around scale and latency. They’re having to enhance their architectures to deal with it. So what we’re providing is an infrastructure to enable them to do that. It’s all software based, not hardware based.
You might have a traditional application server with a middleware infrastructure that runs from a disk, which is clustered and might have different entry points that have to be integrated. What we’re doing is running on your infrastructure, but running in memory, virtualised. We also handle all of the routing and clustering across the nodes and all underlying service-level agreements, in real time. It’s essentially a next-generation middleware.
A pragmatic example would be if you have a casino that is free for certain users, you could be hit by a spike of users. Traditionally, what systems do is try to accommodate those users straight away; that’s both good and bad, because if most of the users on your system are free you might not want to cost your company money by making room for them all to use your product. With our system, you can have it set up so that if the majority of users are of a certain type, e.g. free, don’t scale up; you can even set an alert for users that if they were to register, become a paying customer, they would get much better speeds. If you have Platinum customers and 10 of them come online and the system recognises them, so it triggers better quality service for that group.
The real benefit we bring is that we’re bringing a proven technology to solve existing problems. The biggest banks and stock exchanges in the world use GigaSpaces to help run their systems to cope with scale and latency. Older online gaming systems that now have to deal with much larger user bases can really benefit from this; when marketing plans introduce a raft of new customers, with our system they can cope with growth without the need to upgrade their entire system to accommodate those customers. If they’re all just having a go at a free play area and not bringing in revenue, why would you spend a lot of money to upgrade for those users?
For more information, please email Jim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at+44-207-117-0213