Balance And Exposure the Future

The Betfair exchange is a pioneering, market-leading online betting Exchange. It is the biggest and most mature betting exchange around.

What is a betting exchange?

A betting exchange allows customers to bet against each other rather than against a bookmaker. This differentiates them from traditional betting shops and bookmakers as the betting exchange allows the user to act as the bookie (by setting the odds for an event) or the customer (who bets using the odds set by the other user).

Whereas traditional bookmakers accept the risk of going head-to-head in various bets with customers, the business of a betting exchange does not involve any risk. The exchange simply provides the technology that pairs customers together in order for bets to take place and takes a commission from the net winnings that result.

Continue reading “Balance And Exposure the Future”

Balance And Exposure the Future

Our journey into planet hackathon…

I want to take you back about twelve months, so that I can set the scene for you. My team is still dealing with the fallout from a merger that forced together two very different tech stacks and teams that don’t know each other. On top of that we are still in the middle of what turns out to be a two-year mega project that has sucked time and energy from almost everyone.

Continue reading “Our journey into planet hackathon…”

Our journey into planet hackathon…

Exchange Market Data Streaming with Kafka

At Betfair our read services are struck with billions of requests per day, they are not evenly distributed either. These requests will arrive in huge spikes of traffic during key sporting events, putting our customer facing services under huge pressure during sustained time periods throughout the day. We develop our systems to cater for this demand, keeping true to our latency SLA’s all the while operating without downtime. Unlike comparable trading platforms used in the financial world, we don’t have the option of closing trading at 5pm – sporting events occur around the clock, every day.

When we talk about read services, we are referring to anything that is presented, in real-time to customers – either through the API or via our online channels. Notably, our price read services. They were the first to move to the streaming model. If you are not familiar with financial trading, price read services present ‘ticks’ on a market to our customers – billions of them. Ticks are price/volume pairings for a given selection on a market. See below.

Trades

Continue reading “Exchange Market Data Streaming with Kafka”

Exchange Market Data Streaming with Kafka

Exchange Streaming – The journey so far

Betfair is the largest on-line betting exchange in the world and has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. One of the fundamental problems that comes with growth is that the technology that drives the exchange has to scale in line with not just current growth rates but also the forecast growth over next X months/years.

What also complicates the matter is that growth is a function of many variables, including but not limited to number of users, jurisdictions, market offerings and the list goes on. So the goal post is constantly moving for us. Whilst it is a massive challenge, in some ways it is also a nice problem to have. As noted in a previous post, the current exchange back-end architecture, whilst still proving its worth everyday, puts some limitations on rapid scale outs and on our ability to deliver new capabilities to maintain the edge in a highly competitive market. We have been slowly migrating the entire back-end architecture to be event driven, and we recently achieved another milestone in this path. A new stream of core exchange activity, that provides the lowest level of transactional activity ticks that occur in the exchange, in near real time, was deployed live after some painstaking work over a few months. This is a significant step forward for us as it essentially opened up options for us to migrate a lot of our internal service applications to source the exchange activity data from the stream, instead of relying on some legacy sources which were highly reliant on a very heavily used database. More significantly, it also allows us to build similar capabilities exposed to our end users. The detailed benefits of this, can probably be discussed in another entry, but this is no doubt a step change for us. Continue reading “Exchange Streaming – The journey so far”

Exchange Streaming – The journey so far

Here we are

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So, we have decided to resuscitate our technology blog. But this time we’re bigger. You may know that both paddy power and betfair have joined forces to create one of the world’s largest online gambling businesses, with more than 7,000 staff. With this comes complexity and many technical challenges, which will give us plenty to share.

The aim of this site is to share our expertise, knowledge and our technology stack with you technology enthusiasts.

In the coming weeks will be posting interesting  stories, videos and pictures around how we overcome some of our biggest problems at paddy power betfair.

Stay tuned…

Here we are