Betfair claims J2EE a better bet than .Net

The online gambling exchange thinks Java has the security track record required for mission-critical, 24x7 businesses
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor

UK online gambling exchange Betfair has chosen to base a major Web site overhaul around Sun's J2EE platform rather than Microsoft's .Net software, claiming the Java product comes with a "proven enterprise track record".

The betting exchange has been slowly ramping up its new site over the last few weeks and plans to retire the old ASP-based presence on Monday, 13 September. Betfair claims to have around 250,000 customers placing around 300 bets per second.

The re-engineering project took approximately two years to complete with a lot of time devoted to understanding past usage patterns and planning for future requirements, according to Betfair's chief technology officer, David Yu.

He claimed that the company evaluated building the site around .Net and J2EE and carried out an exhaustive comparison at the beginning of the project. "Ultimately, we chose J2EE due to its proven enterprise track record, security, and maintainability. .Net offered faster development and performance, but for a mission-critical, 24x7 site such as Betfair.com, we chose the proven, secure technology."

Betfair, along with several other UK betting sites, has been targeted by Web-based criminals -- and has been a victim of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on three separate occasions.

In July the company admitted that its main exchange site was affected for just over an hour due to a DDOS attack. The attack prevented some users from accessing the site with some customers claiming they been unable to view or place bets while some claimed to have lost money.

Betfair claimed that the site re-engineering has been done to cope with a significant future expansion of the business. "Like most software, you eventually outgrow the first version and need to do a clean slate design to get to the next level. We wanted to rebuild the site before the platform began to limit growth," said Yu.

All of its development was done in-house by its own engineers and contractors, the company said. Yu explained that "in-house development is a must for the quality of development and rate of innovation that we expect".

The company uses the JBoss OpenSource Application Server, Tangosol Coherence for caching, and Oracle for its database.

Betfair won a Queen's Award for Enterprise, in the Innovation category, for 2003.

Betfair chief technology officer David Yu is a finalist for ZDNet UK's CIO of the Year award. For more details, click here.

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