A huge benefit of Diffusion is the efficient distribution of data to support realtime mobile apps and allow us to provide a seamless customer experience.”
Ed Braidwood IT Operations Manager
Racing Post’s in-house system was challenged to deliver live racing information when demand spiked during major events and they had to throttle the system. They turned to Diffusion to minimize the impact on their busy IT team and to solve their live data delivery demand challenge
Racing Post is the online home of the UK’s number one horse racing daily newspaper. Its website, bookkeeper kiosks, and mobile apps have become the online destination of choice for horse racing enthusiasts looking for the latest information.
When it came to distributing high-volume, live, event-driven information in real-time to many thousands of customers on line, Racing Post’s in-house system had to force bandwidth throttling whenever customer interaction levels spiked during major racing events. The development team meet its customers’ demands for ‘live’ data performance without a huge impact on IT infrastructure cost and complexity, Racing Post needed an enterprise-class, real-time, intelligent data solution for its online services. As Ed Braidwood, IT Operations Manager at Racing Post, explains,
“Our customers don’t accept anything less than real-time, reliable access to the latest racing information and betting prices,”
“Previously during major events such as Cheltenham or the Grand National we had to limit performance – sometimes by up to 20 seconds at the busiest times – to maintain online services.”
Racing Post required a data management, integration, and distribution solution that could flexibly scale to peak demand, and reliably deliver real-time data to thousands of online and mobile customers.
A huge benefit of Diffusion is the efficient distribution of data to support real-time mobile apps and allow us to provide a seamless customer experience.”
- Ed Braidwood IT Operations Manager
Racing Post found Push Technology’s Diffusion at a perfect time, says Ed Braidwood. “Mobile apps were just starting to really take off and a huge benefit of Diffusion is the intelligent distribution of data to support real-time mobile apps and allow us to provide a seamless customer experience.”
Using Diffusion, Racing Post now offers apps for iPhones, iPads, Android, and HTML5 – and the number of Racing Post’s mobile users is growing rapidly. “It is definitely our most popular product,” confirms Ed Braidwood.
Since 2013, Racing Post has also benefited from the partnership between Push Technology and Telefónica, with the solution now hosted in the cloud: “It’s simple, cost-effective, and we can easily triple our infrastructure for big events.”
Using Diffusion, Racing Post provides its customers with the latest racing information and prices at zero latency, while minimizing the volume of data it sends to its online customers – whether mobile, online or accessing services via a Racing Post kiosk in a bookmaker’s shop.
The result is massive growth in Racing Post’s online services, and its mobile solution is even more successful. Racing Post’s free iPhone app became the number one sports application in the iTunes store shortly after it was launched in 2011, and it has since been downloaded more than a million times. During key events in the racing calendar, such as Cheltenham Week, Racing Post has over 300,000 unique users with as many as 122,000 concurrent users on its mobile app, and over 54 million page views.
Racing Post currently displays real-time price feeds from eleven bookmakers, with the ability to let customers click through directly to the bookmakers’ websites. In addition to pricing and odds information, Push Technology’s solution also enables Racing Post to distribute a broad range of additional data.
According to Ed Braidwood, “Diffusion has a very powerful and diverse toolset, allowing us to provide our customers with
additional value-added services such as in-race, live-text commentaries, analytical statistics, race status data, and a fast results service. Diffusion can also generate triggers for Racing Post customers, letting them know when new website content – such as a live news ticker – is available.”
To make full use of the flexibility of the cloud infrastructure, Racing Post plans to change the way its servers connect to the real-time price feeds. The new architecture will utilize a pair of master servers to distribute the price feeds to a number of slave servers that handle the connection load. Scaling up or down to meet demand can then happen literally at the touch of a button. Ed Braidwood shares his vision, “We’ll be able to scale our servers up and down to match demand each day and even by the hour, using the cloud infrastructure in the most cost-efficient way. Eventually, the servers will even be able to monitor themselves and trigger the deployment of extra infrastructure when and as needed, so it all becomes fully automated.”