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Read on to find out what he had to say.
Himanshu Kumar Singh: Tell me about Centrebet.
In 1996, we became the first licensed bookmaker in the southern hemisphere to offer online sports betting.
HKS: What is your busiest time of year?
SP: Our busiest time of year is during the Spring Racing Carnival, a month-long series of high-stakes horseracing events held in Melbourne, Victoria.
The Melbourne Cup, in particular, sees thousands of once-a-year punters bet on the big race, held on the first Tuesday in November each year.
We take around four times the number of bets during the Melbourne Cup than we take on an average day.
The traffic across our systems on that one day of the year is phenomenal.
HKS: Why did you decide to create a dedicated Spring Carnival microsite?
SP: Our online and mobile customers demand the most up-to-date information about the races and results, especially which horses are attracting the big money.
If punters can see where the big bets are being laid, it greatly assists them in their own wagering.
We wanted to build a dedicated microsite to provide vital and timely Spring Carnival race and betting information to our customers.
HKS: What challenges did you face as you planned this new microsite?
SP: The challenge was to get a site up and running for online and mobile punters in a short timeframe, without causing any disruption to our core betting operations.
We would usually invest heavily in hardware to ensure we had the right infrastructure to remain operational during major sports events.
And given the high number of users, the site also needed to handle large volumes of data quickly and distribute that information efficiently and seamlessly.
HKS: What options did you consider for developing your site?
On advice continue reading IT consultancy and Microsoft Gold Certified Partnerwe selected Windows Azure.
HKS: How did the development process go with Windows Azure?
Windows Azure gave us the flexibility, scalability and performance reliability place a bet online for melbourne cup needed to operate the site in the cloud without affecting our core infrastructure.
It was also fast and incredibly easy to deploy.
HKS: What new features and services does the new microsite provide to your customers?
SP: By running the site on Windows Azure, we were able to put a lot of information at the fingertips of punters without putting any strain on the main processing engines that operate our core revenue-generating systems.
The new site enabled our customers to access comprehensive betting information from the first major race meeting of the spring season in early October.
This information included up-to-date prices; tips and big bets being placed; the form guide; and information about which horses to follow and which were leading the market.
HKS: Did place a bet online for melbourne cup site result in an increase in business for Centrebet?
SP: Our Spring Place a bet online for melbourne cup microsite running on Windows Azure seamlessly provided timely race and betting information to our global customers during our busiest time of year.
On Melbourne Cup day, we took more than 400,000 bets with the help of the new site.
SP: By using Windows Azure to run the Spring Carnival microsite, we ensured our network performed consistently well, because data was distributed over a large number of machines rather than a single database.
And we always had access to sufficient bandwidth and processing power to ensure the site continued to run smoothly when the numbers of users and transactions spiked dramatically.
And rather than having to continually invest in local infrastructure and bandwidth, we can use Windows Azure to manage and distribute scaled volumes of information cost-efficiently, place a bet online for melbourne cup and in whichever way we choose.
The beauty is you pay for what you use.
Our investment in new hardware and management costs is minimal.
IT staff spend less time managing infrastructure.
When demand is high, we can bring new equipment into play in hours rather than months, which saves time and money.
HKS: What business benefits have you seen with Windows Azure?
SP: Launching a dedicated Spring Racing Carnival microsite in time for the 2011 season gave our customers continuous access to information they needed to place bets during peak times, which was good for punters and good for our business.
Windows Azure made that happen.
The success of the Spring Carnival microsite has laid the groundwork for us to build microsites for other major sporting events, such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League grand finals and the Autumn Racing Carnival.
In time, we may look at moving some of our primary business activities to Windows Azure.
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