Online gaming and betting are a fast-growing, dynamic industry. New Relic is helping top gaming solutions company EveryMatrix drive innovative new services for its clients and deliver outstanding player experiences.

EveryMatrix provides a complete technology platform for gaming operators including casinos, sports betting, and payments. To respond to different customers’ demands, the company is divided up into smaller business units, which have their own technology leaders as well as independent teams that adapt and integrate EveryMatrix’s modular product suite for different clients.

While this approach enables EveryMatrix to tailor their technology to client needs, it creates some tough operational and IT governance challenges, says group CTO Rafael Campuzano: ‘Ensuring alignment on how we manage all processes and operations to the same, highest quality—especially on incident management—is challenging because we’ve changed our focus from supporting many smaller clients to working with fewer, larger clients who are growing faster with many more operations and players. Bigger clients expect and demand a much more stable, reliable modern platform that is 100% available to players.’

A single source of truth to unify the business

It was clear to Campuzano that there had to be a standardised platform for understanding and managing the performance across a complex array of different applications and infrastructure.

‘To serve our clients and their customers, EveryMatrix needs a single source of truth to always know what’s going on. New Relic comes straight out of the box and with almost no tuning immediately unveils a great amount of information about how our platform is behaving. This is vital to us,’ says Campuzano.

Incident management depends on New Relic as Mihnea Dobre, head of IT governance, explains: ‘My team oversees monitoring and stopping anything that happens that’s out of the ordinary. We use New Relic every day, and of the 25 tabs we have open all the time, 20 are New Relic. Without New Relic, we wouldn't understand even half of our incidents. We can see into the data, go into transactions and see even the actual server that had the problem or the database instance. The level of detail from New Relic helps us identify the problem, and then come up with action points to prevent the same problem happening again.’

Troubleshooting to keep the dice rolling

For such a complicated business with teams spread around the world in China, Romania, and Ukraine, coordinating a rapid response to an incident is enabled by how all the teams in each business unit use New Relic.

‘Whenever we see something happening, my central team already knows which team to call and give them exactly the moment in New Relic to investigate’, says Campuzano. ‘Each application team can be mobilised in less than three minutes for preventing any  major incidents successfully”’

When performance issues affect the players’ ability to game, the damage to EveryMatrix can be severe in terms of its reputation and potential financial penalties for missed KPIs. The ability to troubleshoot and resolve a problem quickly and before it affects player experience  is essential thanks to the depth of insights and observability possible with New Relic.

‘Yes, New Relic lets us respond fast, but it is more than that; it enables us to act more directly and effectively. Our platform is very challenging  with so many moving, inter-related  parts. Sometimes, you don't know when something happens nor where to look. Finding answers would have meant diving into thousands of lines of logs, which is an almost impossible task. New Relic correlates all of the data for us and shows us clearly what the root cause is and where it is’, says Campuzano.

 

‘New Relic lets us respond fast, but it is more than that; it enables us to act more directly and effectively. Our platform is very complex with so many moving parts. Sometimes, you don't know when something happens nor where to look. Finding answers would have meant diving into thousands of lines of logs, which is an almost impossible task. New Relic correlates all of the data for us and shows us clearly what the root cause is and where it is.’

Rafael Campuzano, Group CTO, EveryMatrix

His colleague Dobre confirms this and recalls how New Relic helped to solve one particularly tough performance riddle: ‘We were having lots of problems with Kafka that we couldn't get to the bottom of. New Relic saved our life here because, working with their experts, we discovered how we could monitor Kafka as a third party in our infrastructure. We trained up all of the different CTOs and teams and since then we never had another Kafka-related incident.’ 

EveryMatrix’s use of New Relic is evolving as the business responds to differing client demands and modernises its software stack and infrastructure.

‘Because each client’s business requirements are very different, we work with and tailor a very hybrid set of technologies. Driven by their markets, some business units are evolving their technology stacks are a faster pace than others. . For example, we are using Kubernetes with containerized applications in some parts of the platform. So naturally this team is beginning to use New Relic’s Kubernetes Cluster Explorer’, adds Campuzano.

Reacting to the COVID-19 challenge

The agility of all units at EveryMatrix was tested by having to pivot rapidly due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the gaming industry globally.

‘When a big part of our business, sports betting, went away literally overnight as sports went into lockdown, we had to adapt immediately. Especially as demand for other games like casino and e-sports suddenly shot up. We needed to get new services and systems up and running in days. To assure the success of this we needed a tool like New Relic that could be as flexible as us and give us everything we needed in terms of monitoring and alerting’, says Campuzano.

 

‘When a big part of our business, sports betting, went away literally overnight as sports went into lockdown, we had to adapt immediately. We needed to get new services and systems up and running in days. To assure the success of this, we needed a tool like New Relic that could be as flexible as us and give us everything we needed in terms of monitoring and alerting.’

Rafael Campuzano, Group CTO, EveryMatrix

 

It helped that the teams were familiar with using New Relic when managing the deployment of new applications and updates. Additionally, New Relic is increasingly being used for long-term capacity planning at a group level to support the individual units as they experience surges in activity.

Total transparency is key

In responding to changing business conditions, it was vital to keep clients informed about how the technology was performing as well as delivering a great player experience. Because teams are already sharing dashboards generated from New Relic with the rest of the business, it has become clear that this same visibility should be offered to EveryMatrix’s clients.

‘We’d been using New Relic to explain performance trends and issues to customers’ explains Campuzano. ‘ Now we are taking this one step further and giving our major clients direct access to New Relic through a dedicated portal and personalised dashboards. So, that transparency is always there for them and it builds trust, which for us in our sector is a real business advantage.’

How New Relic dashboards will help forge closer, open relationships with the company’s biggest clients illustrates that observability is central to running such a complex, dynamic business as EveryMatrix.

‘We need to be flexible and agile. And there’s no time to configure a complex tool when we need to put in the architecture for a new service to go live in weeks. So, we need to see what is going on inside the service without having to wait. That’s why New Relic is so crucial to us’, sums up Campuzano.