Cloud Computing

FanDuel partners with AWS to meet demands and expand into new markets

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FanDuel, the leading U.S. sports gaming company behind a multi-billion dollar industry, has been at the forefront of the industry’s digital transformation for years. Today, the company is expanding its partnership with Amazon Web Service to scale, meet demands and reach new regions.

On September 13, the company that offers sports betting and daily fantasy sports for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and PGA announced a new partnership with AWS to drive its expansion in the United States and Canada.

TechRepublic spoke to Shane SweeneySenior Vice President of Technology at FanDuel, to gain insight into the company’s data infrastructure demands and challenges and the impact of AWS on their operations.

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Build on an existing technology partnership

One of the main reasons FanDuel decided to partner with AWS is their long-standing relationship. Early 2022, FanDuel migrated to AWS in less than three weeks after experiencing significant growth, enabling the former third-party video streaming provider to handle live streams 24/7. But the relationship between the two societies predates this migration.

FanDuel has leveraged AWS’ broad portfolio of cloud, storage, analytics and database services since its launch in 2009.

SEE: Check out our in-depth comparison of AWS and Google Cloud.

“FanDuel has had a relationship with AWS for many years, as we do with other cloud providers,” Sweeney said. “This partnership, however, makes sense when looking at FanDuel’s data residency and on-premises requirements. Leveraging hybrid and edge solutions has been a key priority for AWS for many years.

FanDuel’s SVP of Technology explained that the industry they operate in requires on-premises facilities and ensures transactions take place within state borders. Centralization of processes, data and systems is therefore essential.

“Having our teams able to work seamlessly across regions and on-premises, with a single control plane, standard tools, and standard ways of working, truly made AWS the best choice,” he said. Sweeney said.

Meet high demands with strategic infrastructure

With over 12 million registered users and growing in every US state, FanDuel’s technical requirements must be enterprise-ready and ready to support heavy workloads. As the company scales, it also faces compliance challenges.

“We need to have platforms and services operating in more than 20 states,” Sweeney said. “We have to deal with regulatory differences between these different environments, and we have to be able to adapt to meet the demands of very large events, (such as) the Kentucky Derby, the NFL and the Super Bowl, to name just a few.”

SEE: Learn how AWS compares to the HPE GreenLake edge computing platform.

FanDuel invests in AWS’s proven, secure, and high-performance infrastructure to meet the compliance and infrastructure requirements imposed by its scaling strategy. Additionally, among other things, the new infrastructure will support millions of simultaneous online users as they place bets, watch live content and access real-time features.

“Data is at the heart of our business and the flow of information must be in real time,” Sweeney added. “FanDuel engineers work very closely with AWS teams to solve a highly distributed problem using the culmination of core and edge services that AWS has to offer.”

On-premises, at the edge and in the cloud: Big data and low latency

Naturally, the solution to real-time data is to properly install and configure on-premises hardware and software with edge and cloud infrastructure to provide a consistent and reliable data stream with very low latency.

Jan Hofmeyr, vice president of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Edge, explained that FanDuel is one of the largest users of AWS Edge solutions.

“(FanDuel is) a perfect example of an organization using our consistent cloud infrastructure at the edge to ensure regulatory compliance, while increasing its performance, security and scalability,” Hofmeyr said.

SEE: Check out highlights from the AWS Summit New York 2023 keynote.

FanDuel recognizes that as it continues to grow, challenges will become more complex, but it relies on AWS to provide solutions that will help streamline its business.

“AWS incurs operational costs that we simply don’t have to worry about,” Sweeney said. “If we were using a more traditional on-premises infrastructure, we would need to scale teams and manage many more aspects of the operation, which would distract us from our vision.

Preparing digital infrastructure for big events: FanDuel and the NFL season

When preparing for big events like the NFL regular season, which will draw crowds and put pressure on its digital infrastructure, FanDuel plans ahead. For FanDuel, the season starts the day after the Super Bowl.

“We start then because our teams and partners really need to understand the behavior of our workloads…and, more importantly, identify lessons learned and areas for improvement,” Sweeney said.

From that point on, the company works closely with AWS to adjust capacities, optimize performance, and plan to manage growth expectations and new state launches. Sweeney explained that FanDuel will then move into testing phases, during which the platform will be refined and validated by AWS engineers working side-by-side with FanDuel engineers.

SEE: Compare AWS with Oracle to see which IIoT product is best for you.

“In the days leading up to an event like the NFL, there’s obviously a lot of checking and rechecking of our platforms,” Sweeney said. “I can’t say it enough: AWS engineers and FanDuel engineers operate as one team, putting aside all organizational differences with a common goal.

Research and development, sustainability and innovation

FanDuel also works alongside AWS to reduce its environmental impact and make its operations more energy efficient by using tools such as the AWS Customer Carbon Footprint Tool to benchmark its carbon footprint against sustainability goals.

“We began using AWS Graviton instance types, which consume up to 60% less power than comparable instances without compromising performance, and are using AWS serverless technology, which enables our workloads to run only for the precise amount of time they need and then terminate. avoid wasting resources,” Sweeney said.

The company is exploring new ways to innovate with AWS, including using machine learning and generative artificial intelligence with Amazon Bedrock to improve its platform.

SEE: AWS invests $100 million in Generative AI Innovation Center

“FanDuel strives to be innovative, and that means we will constantly be using new technologies,” Sweeney said. “We must constantly look for new ways to solve problems. GenAI is a really interesting new proposition that we’ve started exploring, and I’m curious to see what use cases emerge over the coming months.

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