Scott Hanson offers his insights in the latest issue of eGaming Review on the cloud technologies which are key to the industry, and what future developments are going to make a difference.
eGaming Review (eGR): How important is the use of cloud technology in today’s egaming industry?
Scott Hanson (SH): Very important. At Ardenta we see operators looking for ways to reduce cost because of high infrastructure costs; particularly in some jurisdictions where they have to have the infrastructure located locally.
We also see new operators coming to market who don’t really have a good idea about what infrastructure they need to run their online-gaming platform. Often a private cloud solution will be the best fit for them because it’s pre-ratified, pre-specified according to their bet or play volumes and, ultimately, it’s a proven technology.
A lot of operators have test and development requirements which they cannot host in their own infrastructure, or have no appetite to spend time purchasing infrastructure to get development done. Again, there is a cloud solution to this issue.
Finally, some ISVs are looking for environments to do “proof of concepts” for customers or potential customers and cloud is a great way of getting access for potential customers to see what their network can do.
eGR: With all the advances cloud technology is the egaming industry heading towards becoming a cloud-first environment?
Absolutely, I think we are definitely going that way.
eGR: What are the advantages for an egaming business to upgrade to cloud software and what are the potential challenges?
SH: Just a few of the advantages would be: reducing the cost of ownership of their infrastructure. If they currently have their own datacentres and equipment to pay for, with hardware refreshes every three years, these costs could be removed completely by outsourcing to a cloud provider.
There are also potential licensing cost savings. Most of the online gaming organisations have fairly meaty database servers, which do the grunt work of the applications, and these can have some significant licensing costs involved. Our cloud offering on the other hand has licensing included within the monthly fee.
With the introduction of the Point of Consumption Tax there is the potential opportunity for new entrants to the UK market will be able to base their equipment in the UK and not have to use expensive jurisdictions like Gibraltar, the Channel Islands or Malta.
Potential challenges for established customers could be the migration into the cloud. The nature of egaming businesses is they have very few down-time windows, as customers play games 24/7. Then there is the jurisdictional aspect. To have a licence in Malta, for example, their infrastructure has to be in Malta. If there are no cloud services in Malta then a provider simply cannot use it.
eGR: Given the recent controversies surrounding the security of data stored on the cloud, what reassurances can you give egaming businesses that their customers data will be safe?
SH: We are currently undergoing certification to ISO 27001, which is an information security standard. The vCloud infrastructure is in scope for that verification. These controls and auditing will ensure that no customers’ environments are able to communicate with other customers and the data within is protected. We also provide a customer with reporting around that as well to alert customers or give daily, security based reports.
eGR: How does Ardenta use the data it collects to help its customers improve player experience?
SH: Years we have collected our experiences to create a very good set of metrics for operators’ sizes. We have classified operators into four sizes: small, small-medium, medium-large and large. We can advise a new customer that, for example, based on the bet or play volumes they are expecting, we think they are a medium-large customer and therefore, this is the level of infrastructure they need to operate effectively.
eGR: What future developments does Ardenta have planned for its IT offerings
SH: Within the vCloud offering we are looking to provide additional licensing options around different products and technologies. We are also looking to offer more automation possibilities by providing customers with a web-based portal, so they could spin-up or spin-down environments at will. Equally, at the moment our contracts are very static. We want to move towards more pay-as-you-go offerings to give customers the flexibility they are looking for.
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