RISE

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RISE reins in OpEx with Database as a Service, private cloud solutions

Client: RISE (Racing Information Services Enterprise)

Location: Australia

Racing Information Services Enterprise (RISE) is the IT arm of Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the body that manages and regulates harness racing in Victoria. HRV’s race-related content and data are in high demand from consumers in Australia and worldwide, including significant regional audiences who rely on mobile connectivity to stream video and multimedia. RISE also manages a central service accessed by all harness racing states to run their racing and administration functions, making uptime an essential factor in its day-to-day operations.

CHALLENGES

  • Mission-critical need for uptime and redundancy
  • Risk of hardware failure on ageing legacy infrastructure
  • Small IT team with little time for infrastructure refresh
  • Rising storage requirements for digital content

SOLUTIONS

  • Migration to NTT ICT public cloud, preceded by colocation in NTT ICT data centre
  • Fully-managed Oracle Database as a Service and network services

BENEFITS

  • Eliminated the risk of hardware failure while greatly reducing time spent on IT infrastructure maintenance
  • Improved uptime and service availability
  • More cost-effective scaling and redundancy
  • Ability to scale their environment as required

Racing Information Services Enterprise (RISE) is the IT arm of Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the body that manages and regulates harness racing in Victoria. HRV’s race-related content and data are in high demand from consumers in Australia and worldwide, including significant regional audiences who rely on mobile connectivity to stream video and multimedia. RISE also manages a central service accessed by all harness racing states to run their racing and administration functions, making uptime an essential factor in its day-to-day operations.


CHALLENGES: Rising expectations from all sides

The harness racing industry relies heavily on data from RISE to keep audiences informed and engaged with race meets, no matter where or when they occur. With a growing number of audiences accessing its content via 3G/4G networks, RISE recognised the need to move its IT infrastructure to the cloud for greater scalability, agility, and mobile-friendly service. Doing so would also help the organisation reduce its increasing risk of downtime – a potentially huge handicap to its growing range of services.

RISE RECOGNISED THE NEED TO MOVE ITS IT INFRASTRUCTURE TO THE CLOUD

FOR GREATER SCALABILITY, AGILITY, AND MOBILE-FRIENDLY SERVICE

“It’s the real-time details that make our customers feel involved and keen to participate” says Damien Manion, General Manager, RISE. “These customers come from numerous different timezones and locations, so any downtime can drastically affect their experience and confidence to place bets or otherwise engage with harness racing events.

“We’d been in a managed services environment previously and we wanted to get a lot more control over our own servers. But the biggest exposure I think we felt we had that we wanted to minimise this time around was the risk of hardware failure.”

Higher service quality and availability was also a requirement, as was a growing focus on cybersecurity for the HRV’s enterprise partners. However, RISE faced significant resource constraints due to a small IT team and the onerous financial outlay of upgrading its existing on-premise infrastructure.

“We have a small team whose true value lies in managing the applications that customers use like videos, livestreams and historical race info on the horses and their owners,” says Manion. “All other things like infrastructure, security and scalability are, crucial as they may be, just distractions from this core purpose. We wanted to simplify so we can focus on customer experience.”


SOLUTIONS: A two-step migration to the cloud

RISE chose NTT Communications ICT Solutions (NTT ICT) for its ability to offer a full range of services via a single point of contact and its extensive, owned global IP backbone. NTT ICT’s expertise in Oracle database management also inspired RISE – a longtime Oracle customer – to select the IT services provider to refresh its infrastructure.“In our new virtualised environment we looked at several managed services companies and various cloud providers, and NTT’s services – in particular, their Database as a Service – were the strongest ones we came up with,” said Manion. “The Oracle cloud solution proved a key component for why we went with NTT – their Database as a Service solution has really helped us to minimise our running costs.”

WITH THE SECURE SECOND SITE AND A MANAGED NETWORK IN PLACE, RISE WAS READY TO MIGRATE TO THE CLOUD WITH MINIMAL RISKS OF SERVICE INTERRUPTION

RISE’s first step was to co-locate their servers in NTT ICT’s Victorian data centre, supported by managed network services that provided immediate relief to its IT team. With the secure second site and a managed network in place, RISE was ready to migrate to the cloud with minimal risks of service interruption. That process saw NTT ICT tackle historical issues of complexity throughout RISE’s infrastructure.

“We’re always committed to lending a hand wherever it’s needed,” says Tarquin Bellinger, Chief Operating Officer, NTT Communications ICT Solutions of the implementation. “Many of the issues that arose were quite unexpected for both us and RISE, but we were able to apply our experience from past projects to quickly troubleshoot them and smooth the way for a successful migration.”

“They’ve been good at developing an action plan, keeping us up-to-date of progress, and following up to make sure the issue is resolved to our satisfaction,” said Manion. “The experience has been a very positive one.”

BENEFITS: Lower costs, more time and responsiveness to customers

Following the migration, RISE’s team has significantly reduced its time spent on systems admin and troubleshooting tasks, allowing its staff to refocus on improving its apps, websites, and the levels of service offered to customers. RISE will also benefit from a substantial reduction in its cost to scale: NTT ICT’s virtual machines cost only a fraction of RISE’s previous physical servers to provision.

“The cloud deployment with NTT allows us to bring up a virtual machine every now and then if we need one, even if it’s only for a month or two,” says Manion. “One of the other advantages that the cloud gives us is the amount of disk space needed for storing our data, including a lot of video content. The ability to expand whenever we need to is also very handy.”
Future plans for RISE include replicating the solution in NTT ICT’s Sydney data centre for second-site redundancy and higher availability for its global audiences.

“Moving to the cloud is essential for us to keep making our customers’ online experience of the races better and better,” said Manion. “NTT ICT’s world-class cloud services have helped us maintain our profile amongst harness racing audiences worldwide, and we’re looking forward to working with them to further strengthen our place in the field.”

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