Derby Day Victory
The CRM applications are Web-based, and a high-speed network is used to connect to the remote data center. Four Gateway servers support the Kentucky Derby Web site. During this year’s event, CDI experienced an unexpected spike in traffic that stayed high. The Gateway 975 servers sustained a throughput of 140 Mb per second for 15 straight minutes before, during, and after the race. The Derby’s Web site attracted 6,800 hits per second during this period.
“Despite booming traffic, the servers never went down,” says Rollins. “Our Gateway models were supplemented by edge servers by Akamai to facilitate the movement of content closer to the request.”
In addition to the upgraded back end, CDI added Gateway desktops and notebooks. To date, 50 Gateway PCs and laptops have been deployed. As the older Dell hardware ages, these units will be changed out for new Gateway models. By the end of the three-year contract, Rollins expects 500 to 600 Gateway PCs and notebooks will be in operation.
“Despite booming traffic, the servers never went down,” says Rollins
On the flipside, as onsite Dell servers age, they are swapped out. Two older servers, for example, have been replaced with a Gateway 975 and a Gateway 9515. By the end of year three, all Dell servers will have been displaced. Servers run Windows 200x, and end-user machines run Windows XP.
Racetrack visitors will also benefit from new display technology to watch races, track bets, and view statistics on horses as well as their jockeys. Gateway-powered kiosks have been placed throughout the venues. They are hooked into the network and feed data to a remote Gateway 995 server, which analyzes the information.
“We decided to add kiosks to enhance the customers’ on-track experience,” says Rollins. “We are also using the kiosks for surveys and contest sign ups. We use the kiosks to capture what customers think about our products, analyze the results, link the data into our CRM systems, and do follow up surveys.”
Keeping the Same Jockey
CDI has no plans to change server or hardware jockeys any time soon. With no downtime attributable to server issues experienced on any of its Web sites or applications, the company is more than satisfied with the results. Further, it feels it has gained a clearer picture of how to use technology to fulfill its own business goals by working more tightly with a service provider.
“We needed help from a partner in order to give us a longer-term technology direction and to help us achieve it,” says Rollins. “We are working together closely to achieve our technology goals, and at the same time, we are influencing product development at Gateway.”