How one regulated business successfully moved to the Cloud | #OpenStack

Richard Haigh

Though the OpenStack Summit has been going for several years now, each new convention brings fresh faces and companies into the fold of the community, each with their own ideas about how the technology can be utilized.

Richard Haigh, head of delivery enablement at Paddy Power Betfair, a “primarily sports-betting” business, sat down with Stu Miniman (@stu) and Brian Gracely (@bgracely), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, to talk about how the cloud and its utilities have changed things for his company, as well as what he expects to see come from it over the next few years.

Moving to cloud

The discussion quickly turned to the reasons behind Betfair’s move to the cloud, explained by Haigh as being motivated by the scalability it offered. “We were looking to replace and update our infrastructure,” he said, and as a regulated business, Amazon Web Services or some other public service were non-options. On the other hand, by going with a private cloud, the flexibility to burst capacity up and down as needed, an option that is quickly becoming standard with public cloud services, was taken out of their hands, but Haigh felt this was a worthwhile trade-off for the regulatory compliance.

With their private cloud, Betfair had to conduct heavy testing to make sure the scaling and ability to handle serious network traffic were ready for field use, something they accomplished with an integrated set of tools from various suppliers.

Software-defined networking was “a pivotal part of the product,” according to Haigh. And while it was something new to his company, he said, “It’s worked remarkably well.” Praising the “ability to deploy and mutate the network at a pace that suits the developers,” Haigh identified the automation it allowed as the key piece of utility it had brought to his company’s toolset.

Keeping the small pieces clean

A number of more detail-oriented improvements came with the cloud shift, including scaling factors, granular data, exact long-term records and, as Haigh described, the log of activity it provides is “absolute and complete,” which is very useful in auditing compliance. Meanwhile, the “hardened and secured” processes provide reassurance, and there are further benefits from the reworked infrastructure.

“We’re also using this as a chance for them to adopt the delivery tooling, to make best use of the pipelining, the monitoring, and all the tests that we’re doing as a part of that,” he said.

To Haigh, “It’s one thing landing the technology, but trying to land the cultural change is quite different. … Hopefully, just like in the software world, we can stop doing the monotonous tasks over and over.”

Haigh also has bright expectations for how these changes will shape the company’s future. “What I’m hoping we’ll do is we’ll start to be able to track these delivery times … and that will make a new set of metrics to test the chain. … I’m happy that we’ve got something that’s fit for purpose now, but I’m also happy that we’ve got the road-map for going forward.”

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of OpenStack Summit — Austin. And make sure to weigh in during theCUBE’s live coverage at the event by joining in on CrowdChat.

Photo by SiliconANGLE