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Lotto NZ Hits the Jackpot with DevOps Transformation

New Zealand Lottery deploys a fully automated DevOps stack built from scratch


The New Zealand Lottery had plans to increase on-line gaming through mobile applications that enabled in-app wagers. However, their application development processes were not ready for the mobile challenge. Existing infrastructure was complex and systems too slow. They needed to transform to an agile DevOps Enterprise. They needed simple, cost effective, and fast. Their implementation of Actifio gave them all of that and more.

Organization Overview

Lotto NZ is the single government sponsored lottery in New Zealand. It was established as a Crown Entity in 1987 raise money for community activities and projects. With seven products in its current portfolio, Lotto New Zealand manages $1B in annual transactions and last year transferred $204 million to the NZ Lottery Grants Board to help make good things happen in Kiwi communities. Since inception, it has transferred over $3B. This vital funding helps thousands of community groups support the arts, sport, culture and heritage, and many more regional and national initiatives.

The Challenge

The “My Lotto” program has grown from an initial weekly drawing to multiple games that include both sales from agent locations and on-line play. Now, a change in regulations was set to allow players to wager within a mobile application. While they wanted to maximize this opportunity, development of the new mobile app would take a quarter or more. Any enhancements would extend development even longer. All their processes were single-stream. Testing cycles relied on multiple separate databases and were painfully slow.

Building the new application became the catalyst to build a new responsive Lotto website. That meant resolving their complex administrative nightmare at the backend and streamlining data refresh cycles for test, development and production. They needed to build a new agile platform that centered all operations in software instead of hardware. They needed simple, cost effective, and fast.

The Solution

The Lotto team’s analysis of their “as is” conditions helped define what would be required of the best “to be” solution. They needed to satisfy essential streamlining requirements, budget constraints, and speed demands, all built on a new and responsive, agile platform. An opportunity to understand advanced possibilities came through an industry conference presentation from a very satisfied Actifio customer.

The Lotto team, working with their partner, Spectrum, conducted a thorough examination of Actifio capabilities, looking at how it would help satisfy their application development requirements. They also looked at alternative solutions but found them lacking in the functionality and flexibility they wanted, while Actifio addressed all their pain points and more.

Moving ahead with the Actifio deployment has helped to reduce infrastructure significantly. It has addressed the time and complexity factors, accelerating application development while lowering expenses. “Seeing the results we have achieved,” said Cross, “my advice to others is to dedicate a deployment team and get the benefits sooner.”

The Lotto team has created a new, fully automated DevOps stack built from scratch. Servers are deployed in minutes. Changes can be easily made, and problems are caught sooner. And all the time/efficiency benefits they have gained can be measured through the $700K annual savings they return to the community good.

Immediate Benefits to NZ Lotto

• Annual cost reductions of $700K including significant infrastructure and licensing savings
• Application quality increased – problems caught sooner, analyzed faster, fixed earlier
• Accelerated database recovery and application testing
• New servers deployed in five minutes instead of two or three hours
• Data restored in ½ hour instead of eight-plus
• Developers increased attention to fine tuning production environment
• Developers have direct self-service access to data and testing resources
• Application cycle times more frequent
• Customer experience improvement