Case Study

Aruba Enterprise for Sisal

Aruba's Cloud Enterprise and Data Center services for Sisal: a brand new hybrid infrastructure and Rated-4 data center.

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The company

Sisal's story began in 1946, with the friendship of 3 journalists and their dream of breathing new life into Italian sport. To do this, they invented the Schedina Totocalcio (football pools), a game that all Italians remember, created to help rebuild stadiums after the war, and which soon became synonymous with hope and a desire to be together. They have not stopped innovating since, and they continue to grow both in retail, with a network of almost 40,000 stores, and in the digital world. In over 70 years of trading, Sisal has built a relationship with consumers based on trust and credibility, designing and managing games with skill, transparency and security, fully in accordance with the standards established by the Italian customs and monopolies agency (Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli) as well as the leading international institutions for responsible gambling. Sisal is an important Italian Group, which has made innovation, retail development, social responsibility and sustainability its strategic priorities. Today, Sisal is also a key player abroad: thanks to a careful globalisation strategy, the company has successfully managed to develop new business opportunities in Morocco, Spain and Turkey.

Requirements

As part of its overall innovation and digital evolution strategy, Sisal felt that it would be useful to launch a review of its IT infrastructures in order to achieve the following benefits:

  • access to "best of breed" technologies;
  • adopt industrialized operational processes in line with best market practices;
  • raise levels of stability and security;
  • offer native scalability and flexibility in executing project tasks.

In order to implement this strategy, it decided to call upon a trusted partner able to provide state-of-the-art data centers and infrastructures, always available for support.

The Solution

Sisal decided to choose Aruba Enterprise as its service provider, defining a dedicated hybrid cloud solution and colocation within private cages. In order to enhance redundancy, the services were located in two Aruba Data Centers based in Italy - DC IT3 in Ponte San Pietro in the province of Bergamo and DC IT 1 in Arezzo.

The project involves migrating Sisal's gaming-related services to a dedicated cloud infrastructure provided by the two data centers: in fact, they are both production sites, and Sisal can choose which of them will provide a given service or application. In particular, some services are provided on an active-active basis, i.e. by both sites simultaneously, thus maximizing resilience and the optimal use of the infrastructures. In order to fulfil 100% of the company's requirements in terms of security and protection, the colocation service was added, provided thanks to the use of private cages dedicated to additional Sisal applications and services.

In addition, an ad hoc network infrastructure was also created, capable of generating interconnections between Sisal's offices and Aruba's Data Centers, making use of a high bandwidth and complete redundancy for the solution. Aruba Enterprise provided a team of dedicated Solution and Service Architects and Project and Account Managers who have monitored Sisal's specific needs throughout the different project development phases.

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The project was complex both because of its huge value to Sisal's business - and, therefore, the impressive infrastructure behind it - and because Sisal is a company in the gaming industry which must, therefore, comply with specific requirements such as the use of certified Rated-4 Data Centers. For this reason, the solution implemented was designed on an ad hoc basis, and fully customized based on these requirements, offering a combination of IT environments to meet specific needs rather than just one kind of environment.

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Adopting a hybrid solution means dealing with different IT environments, so it involves managing the security of different areas and technologies in an "open" context – partly on a private cloud, partly on the public cloud, partly in colocation, potentially with the integration of additional services, such as Trust Services for example. In this kind of situation, the same operating and security standards still need to be guaranteed between all of these environments, even when they are different from each other, and this is one of the main challenges of the project.

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Added to this is another challenge, which relates to the Sisal team's DevOps expertise: with the need to adopt new approaches and methodologies for managing these infrastructures, Sisal and the Aruba Enterprise IT team embarked on a very close working relationship, which involved pooling their skills, with a view to acquiring greater management and governance capabilities, as well as embracing a more dynamic approach that would be better suited to the cloud solutions adopted.

Scheme Enterprise DC IT3 PSP - DC IT1 AREZZO

The Benefits

Thanks to this project, Sisal no longer relies on an on-premise infrastructure, and can count on all of the IT skills of the Enterprise division on the one hand, and on a high-level infrastructure network, based on certified ANSI/TIA Rated-4 Data Centers on the other, thus guaranteeing maximum redundancy and compliance with the highest standards in terms of resilience.

The benefits can be considered in terms of:

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flexibility, from a technological and cost point of view, thanks to a structure that enables Sisal to manage the delivery of its services better, especially at peak times for the market, and to easily scale the infrastructure in line with its growth;

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security and data protection thanks to the high level of the Data Centers as well as the IT architecture created for the project;

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the adoption of industrialized operational processes, thanks to the adoption of DevOps methodologies and the services offered by a specialist provider like Aruba.

In addition, Sisal can focus on its core activities, delegating the task of managing its IT infrastructure to Aruba Enterprise.

This is a very ambitious project in an open IT context, which continues to require implementation. This involves meticulous management so that any critical issues that might arise for a gaming giant like Sisal can be dealt with immediately.

The reliability of the infrastructure is what matters most in this project, so guaranteeing very high levels of uptime and performance is definitely a key factor.

On top of that, being able to rely on a partner like Aruba Enterprise provides an opportunity to implement the solution with additional kinds of service – such as Automatic Signatures and Timestamps, which are used whenever a bet is placed: this gives Sisal a single point of contact for all its different needs, both in terms of the cloud, and when it comes to Trust Services.

Future developments

The complexity of a project involving the migration of two entire Data Centers from on-premise to Aruba's facilities - guaranteeing full continuity of service, 24/7, as well as evolving business projects - over the course of 24 months, is an absolutely enormous challenge, which both companies are managing to tackle thanks to an increasingly strong partnership.

“ For Sisal, guaranteeing maximum data security has always been a key element of the ITC strategy in which we want to continue to invest. In this period of significant growth for the company, including in international markets, we felt that we needed to find a model that could adapt to change, ensuring scaleability, flexibility in terms of planning activities and the highest standards of information security”. Mario Martinelli, Chief Information Officer di Sisal S.p.A.

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