Veikkaus.fi AWS Architecture

— Building a fully automated AWS infrastructure

About Veikkaus

Veikkaus Ltd. is the Finnish national betting agency. It is owned by the Finnish State and has the exclusive betting and gambling license in Finland. It has 1.9 million regular customers and an estimated (2017) revenue of close to two billion euros.

Each year, Veikkaus hands out close to a billion euros in profits for the benefit of the Finnish society. The recipients include various organizations from the fields of culture, sports, science, youth work, social welfare, health and the equine industry.

Veikkaus.fi is the online arm of Veikkaus ltd, enabling customers to access practically all Veikkaus games and services over the Internet.

The Challenge

Veikkaus.fi had some of its systems already been set up on Amazon Web Services and they were bringing in millions of euros in revenue each month. However, the existing solution had become quite complex over time and was difficult to manage. Small errors in sales and e-lot content control were not only annoying but also warning signs of more severe production incidents to come. Furthermore, the deployment process itself remained risky, as it could only be carried out by a handful of people in the entire organization. If they happened to be unavailable, there would be serious gaps and delays in the entire service. With the usage of Veikkaus.fi still growing and millions of euros at stake, it was clear that the entire system had to be fully automated and streamlined for future needs.

The Solution

Together with Veikkaus’ own experts, SC5 built a fully automated AWS infrastructure with secure secrets management and dockerized services within an ECS. Services were rewritten to rely on AWS services whenever possible, transferring the burden of upkeep from Veikkaus to AWS itself. Ansible and Cloudformation scripts enabled Infrastructure As Code -approach. Thus all infrastructure required by Veikkaus.fi can be created from nothing with the press of a button. Individual services can then be run on it with just another press of button. This infrastructure also scales according to usage, while any changes to the services result in the automatic creation of new Docker images, which are then moved to Amazon Web Services. Besides fixing the current issues, the use of containers and AWS Lambda will be invaluable to future software development.

The Results

The project is still going on but at the time of writing, Veikkaus.fi is a fully scalable infrastructure system with continuous delivery. Scalability ensures near limitless capacity under load, while continued integration keeps update cycles short. Because the environments are created from scratch, they can also be rebuilt at will. Since staging environment and production environment are completely identical, bugs and disruptions are caught already in the staging phase and the rapid pace of updates enables rapid response to changes and more opportunities for testing new features. All in all, Veikkaus.fi is now much better equipped to face the future.

Our contributions

We contributed especially in the following areas of development:

  • Infrastructure tooling & implementation
  • Secure secrets management design & implementation
  • Dockerization and running in ECS
  • AWS managed service usage design & implementation

“SC5 is a flexible partner that understands Veikkaus’ business needs. They helped Veikkaus during the entire AWS infrastructure project, providing all the technical expertise and help we required. We are very satisfied with SC5’s agility and flexibility.”

— Timo Paajanen, VP, ICT service operations and infrastructure