888.com Eliminates Database SAN Bottlenecks and Accelerates SQL Server Performance with OCZ’s PCIe-based ZD-XL SQL Accelerator

Reducing the External SAN Load by 50% Negated the Need for Costly Storage Upgrades

Scott Harlin

The 888 Group

User Objectives

  • Reduce database I/O pressure on the SAN
  • Reduce/eliminate SAN storage bottlenecks
  • Reduce/eliminate annual storage upgrade costs
  • Improve SQL Server database performance
  • Accelerate key business analytics

Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Reduced I/O load on the SAN by approximately 50% alleviating workload pressure placed on it. The overall result made the SAN more efficient and the reduction in I/O traffic enabled the SAN to be used more efficiently for storing additional application data.
  • Eliminated the need for annual storage system equipment purchases and associated costs, generating a ROI within several months of deployment
  • Improved SQL Server data throughput by 150%

Online Gaming Overview

Online gaming is described as any activity where a person uses the internet to collaboratively play games and is a well-established form of entertainment as the first known websites were launched in the mid-1990s. Since that time, online gaming has been refined dramatically so that the clunky games with poor graphics are gone. Today’s online gaming websites are slick entertainment portals of which almost any game is shared amongst the extensively wide user base.

The global online gaming industry has become one of the biggest and most rapidly expanding markets (according to Research and Markets, a leading international market source based in Dublin, Ireland). With a net worth of $37 billion at present, online gaming has expanded at a rate of 2.5% annually (beginning after the 2009 global economic recession slowdown), and is expected to continue this trend over the next five years. Europe has become the fastest growing online gaming market (recording an increase of almost 45% of the total online gaming yield). However, due to recent regulation changes, the U.S. market is expanding dramatically.

The global interactive gaming market generated approximately $37.60 billion in revenue in 2013 and is expected to achieve $39.50 billion in revenue for 2014 according to Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) Analysis. These numbers are based on such interactive gaming categories as wagering (betting on sports events or horse racing), casino games, poker, bingo, skill games (chess, backgammon and gin rummy), and state lotteries.

Introduction to 888 Holdings and The 888 Group

888 Holdings Public Limited Company (PLC) is the umbrella organization for one of the world’s most popular online gaming providers (The 888 Group) having been at the forefront of this industry for over a decade. It is a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:888) and employs over 800 full-time workers around the globe. Players are afforded 24x7x365 customer support with assistance available in 11 different languages by phone, email or live online chat.

The 888 Group has several large data centers including one in Gibraltar and in the key American-based gambling hubs of Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The 888 Group’s consumer facing websites offer more than just online gaming and are entertainment destinations where people can enjoy an interactive experience and be part of an online community that shares this common interest. Players are afforded a variety of gaming sites such as:

888.com
The flagship gaming website includes all of the sites below
Casino-on-Net (or 888casino)
Online casino website has served over 13 million people since its initial launch in May 1997 and includes traditional casino games such as slot machines, craps, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, pai-gow poker, video poker and keno
Reef Club Casino
Online casino website offers an underwater theme to provide a more fantasystyled alternative to Casino-on-Net
888poker
Online poker website focuses exclusively on poker variants such as Texas Hold‘em, Omaha and 7-card Stud
888ladies
Online bingo website offers 75-ball and 90-ball games
888bingo
Alternative online bingo website offers a completely different look and feel and a wide selection of 75-ball and 90-ball games including team bingo, slots, instant games, video poker, and table games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette and craps
888sport
Online sports betting site enables bets to be placed on a variety of sporting events including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, horse racing, tennis, cricket, rugby, auto racing and a host of other competitive events
888games
Casual online gaming website hosts a variety of games from video slots to scratch cards, table games and casino games

All 888 online gaming sites are backed by complete security and over twenty different deposit methods as credit card details are stored on servers protected by the latest firewall security to prevent the thousands of transactions performed daily from unauthorized access. In order to ensure that game results are truly random, all 888 online games use the trusted MD5 Random Number Generator (RNG) to act as the ‘dealer’ and provide consistently random results. Additionally, The 888 Group endorses responsible gaming prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 to play, allowing members to set their own maximum deposit amounts and preventing a player from entering the site upon request.

As the online gaming industry continues to expand, players have come to expect the highest quality online facilities, and an objective of The 888 Group as they strive to implement new features and regular system updates to maintain their high-end websites, provide players with a world-class experience, and to stay ahead of the competition in this burgeoning market. As a result, The 888 Group is regarded as one of the world’s best and most popular online gaming providers.

Table of Contents

  1. Online Gaming Overview
  2. Introduction to 888 Holdings and The 888 Group
  3. The 888 Group’s SQL Server Databases
  4. Infrastructure Challenges
  5. The ZD-XL SQL Accelerator Solution
  6. Innovative Flash Caching
  7. TempDB Flash Volumes
  8. Test Criteria and Results versus Competitor A
  9. Product Test Results
  10. Test Summary
  11. Implemenation Wizards
  12. Conclusion