Published on 30-Aug-2013
"One of the key reasons we moved towards the WebSphere DataPower platform was the ability to insert business logic between our core e-commerce engine and our applications." - Wayne Meecham, IT manager, Sportsbet Pty. Ltd.
Sportsbet Pty. Ltd.
Media & Entertainment
Based in Australia, Sportsbet Pty. Ltd. is an Internet betting and entertainment website founded in 1993. It offers a variety of wagering options on a vast range of Australian and international racing and sporting events.
Sportsbet Pty. Ltd. needed to keep up with increasing demand from customers for mobile services.
The company implemented an IBM® WebSphere® DataPower® Service Gateway XG45 appliance to serve as a security gateway between its e-commerce platform and the many applications that interact with it.
The WebSphere DataPower device helps improve performance and helps Sportsbet create a unique look and feel for its front-end applications by decoupling them from the back-end logic.
Based in Australia, Sportsbet Pty. Ltd. is an Internet betting and entertainment website founded in 1993. It offers a variety of wagering options on a vast range of Australian and international racing and sporting events. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Power Paddy Group, headquartered in Dublin.
Keeping up with increasing demand for mobile solutions
Like many companies, Sportsbet needed to keep up with increasing demand from customers for mobile services. “We are seeing a significant increase in the amount of traffic that’s coming to us through mobile channels, smartphones and also tablets,” says Wayne Meecham, IT manager, Sportsbet. “People are out and about. They are at a game. They are at a horse race. They’re with their friends at the bar, and they want to put a bet on a horse wherever they are.”
To keep up with the demand for mobile services, however, Sportsbet needed to make some changes to its systems. The company’s existing e-commerce platform contains an application programming interface (API) that allows external applications to put bets into the system, manage accounts and then get information out of the system. These external applications include the Sportsbet third-party smartphone and tablet applications as well as affiliate applications. Sportsbet wanted to introduce a middle layer between its e-commerce platform and these applications to bolster security and address capacity management issues. “Obviously we don’t want a third-party solution that goes AWOL pulling down the entire site through a traffic flow issue,” says Meecham. “We wanted to make sure that as we allowed third parties to interface with our platform that we weren’t putting our business or our platform at risk. We certainly aspire to lead the market in our mobile capability, and we are working very hard towards that end.”
Creating a security-rich middle layer
Sportsbet implemented an IBM WebSphere DataPower Service Gateway XG45 appliance to serve as a security gateway between its e-commerce platform and the many applications that interact with it. The DataPower device also facilitates the exchange of data. “All the apps that we’re building fall into two broad categories, either native apps on mobile devices or web apps on mobile devices. And both categories of applications essentially run on the local device on the consumer’s end,” says Senthil Kumar, enterprise architecture manager, Sportsbet. “The DataPower device provides business logic to translate and transform the actual data objects going back and forth from the consumer applications into the core e-commerce system.”
Implementing the WebSphere DataPower device was easy. “The entire proof of concept took only two weeks,” says Kumar. “To be fair, a lot of analysis work was already done and that was about a month to two months. However, the .Net equivalent on top of those two months took another month. With DataPower, it only took about two weeks, which was very impressive.”
Improving the customer experience
Another benefit to the WebSphere DataPower device is that it decouples the front-end application from the back-end logic. “Our desktop product is very, very tightly coupled to the back-office application, and that generates challenges in terms of creating a unique experience for our customers because the e-commerce product that we run is not unique to us. A number of the large wagering agencies around the world use it,” says Meecham.
Using the WebSphere DataPower device, Sportsbet can control the front-end look and feel of its product, rather than using the default created by the e-commerce platform. “So as we move forward, it reduces business risk in terms of our exposure to our core vendor, but also gives us capabilities to create new and interesting products and not have them appear six months later in some of our competitors,” says Meecham.
The WebSphere DataPower device also helps improve performance. “Prior to the DataPower initiative, we had a Microsoft .Net middle layer here,” says Kumar. “And during a proof-of-concept phase, we actually noticed a performance boost of up to four times. There’s lots of data out in Wales that suggests that the faster your application performs, whether it be web or mobile, the better your turnover is at the end of the day.”
In fact, during the proof of concept for the WebSphere DataPower device, Sportsbet processed around 4,000 transactions per minute, which was about three times more than its previous Microsoft .Net solution.
Supporting growing numbers of applications for consumers
Sportsbet plans to use the WebSphere DataPower device extensively as it continues to develop new solutions and offerings. “Essentially, it forms our mobile middle layer, our API infrastructure for all future consumer apps that are in the pipeline. We may even expand out from mobile into desktop if there is a business case for that. Perhaps even Smart TVs, who knows, even Google Glasses,” says Kumar. “There are a lot of possibilities. In the future, it appears as though all applications, whether native or web-based, will be running within the context of the consumer’s device, so all the service that we need to provide is at an API level, and WebSphere DataPower fits very well in that space.”
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© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America August 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, DataPower, and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Microsoft is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.