Betting giant Bet365 has announced it is creating an in-house DevOps team to improve the reliability of its website and mobile apps.

Hillside Technology, the technology business arm of Bet365, says the new 70-strong DevOps department will bring together a new site reliability engineering team with several other already established operational divisions including software release, IT operations, and incident management. These formerly disparate teams will now collaborate more closely to identify new technologies that can drive future automation, increase monitoring sophistication, and speed up its broader technology operations.

The firm hopes that the more efficient and collaborative organisational structure will improve reliability and drive down delays in introducing new web services and applications, as they move beyond the Bet365 casino mobile app, sports betting app, and website, into new territories.

Commenting on the move, Hillside Technology’s new Head of DevOps, Steven Briggs, said: “As the scale and scope of our business has increased, so the underlying technologies and platform that support it have become more complex.

“The critical question is how to keep pace with the consistent need to release software, while ensuring the platform remains stable and secure? Modernising our approach to operational and release activity is imperative and we believe a DevOps approach can help with this.

“We want to give Operations the tooling, dashboards and automation needed to increase the value it offers the business. This will involve breaking out of the team and technology silos that can otherwise hinder how the end-to-end system is understood and managed.

“We will build a view of how all parts of the system work together and progress engineering principles that make monitoring, reporting and self-diagnostics/healing more achievable.”

Briggs anticipates that the structural change to DevOps will enable the company to automate a variety of IT operations and introduce “self-remediation” and “self-healing”, where simple issues can be more efficiently addressed, freeing up administrators to focus on more complex tasks.

A tech-first company

Bet365 has long been one of the more technology-focused gaming companies. In April this year, the firm shifted into containerisation with Kubernetes to enable it to engineer more reliable production and deployment environments to help it scale to service its 35 million global customers.

Speaking at the time, James Nightingale, Principle Infrastructure Architect at Bet365, said the shift to the open source container-orchestration system promised “to increase the speed at which we can spin up production environments, while at the same time, delivering a highly malleable deployment mechanism that will enable Sports Development to rapidly release code.”

He explained: “As bet365’s architecture has become more complex; we’ve noticed a growing grey area around responsibility for configuring the platform. There are elements of configuration and tuning that are deployed across the stack, which would traditionally be the remit of the Infrastructure team but need to be undertaken by product teams. The result is two teams touching the configuration items and this added complexity increases the potential for error.”

Embracing open source

Prior to this, back in 2017 the company took the surprising step to acquire Basho’s popular Riak NoSQL key data store and set it free. Riak had solved the issue of reliably storing and distributing huge volumes of concurrent data in real-time at scale and was critical to the growth of Bet365’s digital platform from 2013 onwards. The popularity of Riak, however, did not mean commercial success for Basho. But instead of watching the company’s demise from the sidelines, Bet365 stepped in to acquire the Basho’s intellectual property wholesale and then open source the code under the Apache 2.0 license.

As the company enters its twentieth year of operation, staying ahead of its competitors on the technology front is key to the firm’s future, and the company hopes the shift to DevOps will help it maintain its lead.


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