Caesars Entertainment Upgrades to Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Caesars Entertainment is one of the most established and innovative names in the global gaming industry, having served as a market leader for more than 40 years. Caesars Entertainment EMEA has a diverse portfolio of gaming, entertainment, restaurants and bars at locations throughout the United Kingdom, South Africa and Egypt, and has plans to continue to expand its operations in target markets.

The challenge

Modern gaming providers, like Caesars, heavily rely on video to reduce fraudulent activity, control financial losses, increase customer satisfaction and improve employee productivity. As part of their comprehensive physical security solution, these organizations need to ensure that video data is stored, protected and accessible at all times even during system failure events to mitigate risk, liability and potential operational interruption.

Caesars’ uncompromising focus on compliance, operational excellence and fraud reduction requires a video surveillance solution that mitigates risk, system vulnerabilities, and enhances the customer experience. The company previously leveraged a legacy CCTV system consisting of analog cameras and DVRs, but sought to transition to a more reliable, capable and flexible solution.

Caesars began transitioning two sites to a modern Milestone video management system (VMS) as part of a pilot project and was immediately impressed with the robust capabilities including rapid, intelligent search functions, a rich reporting structure, and the high level of support provided by the Milestone team. The success of the pilot project prompted Caesars to standardize on the Milestone platform across its 14 sites in the EMEA region.

Pivot3, a long-term Milestone partner, integrates seamlessly with its VMS. Pivot3’s interoperability and ease of integration with Milestone stems from its ability to consolidate VMS hosting, security applications and associated data, and all client workstations onto one centralized platform. Pivot3 is certified with the Milestone solution, guaranteeing high performance and system resiliency.

As the organization embarked on its video security upgrade, Caesars’ IT and surveillance leaders quickly realized they would need a robust, flexible and scalable storage solution that would protect video, allow the organization to stay in compliance with gaming regulations, provide the utmost resiliency and ensure high levels of performance to meet evolving corporate standards. They quickly found that Pivot3’s functionality far exceeded the capabilities of standard servers or DVRs, which were never designed to handle the demands of today’s advanced security and surveillance technologies. The Caesars team also had strict requirements when it came to software for video storage solutions.

“We wanted the hardware to be as industry standard as possible. Historically, we’ve had various NVR and DVR solutions that sit on custom pieces of equipment made by their particular manufacturers,” said Charles Rayer, IT Director, Caesars Entertainment EMEA, “The magic isn’t in the hardware, the magic is in the software. The Pivot3 hyperconverged platform provides intelligent, software capabilities on standard hardware, and that is a real advantage to the Pivot3 approach.”

As the Caesars business continues to grow across its targeted regions, it has plans to modernize its datacenter operations. With Pivot3, Caesars can use high-performance, scalable and cost-effective hyperconverged infrastructure to support multiple mission-critical workloads on a single platform and future-proof its IT environment.

The solution

Pivot3 is optimized for demanding, data-intensive surveillance workloads. Using standard off-the-shelf server hardware, Pivot3 aggregates the storage and compute resources from multiple servers into a single unified pool that all cameras can access, which maximizes performance and storage capacity utilization.

“Caesars required an enterprise-class storage platform that could protect its video investment. Video data needs to be as strongly protected as any other sensitive corporate and IT data,” noted Rayer, “Pivot3 is well-suited for this task because the technologies are proven within the rigorous confines of the IT world.”

Pivot3 HCI surveillance solutions also provide industry-leading resiliency. Even if multiple hardware failures occur, including an entire appliance, video management servers will remain online and recording, and any previously recorded video will continue to be protected and accessible.

“At first, we were wary of the promise of resiliency, but after we had the opportunity to test-drive the system and talk to other customers, we quickly realized that this was not just marketing promises,” Rayer said, “We even tried to break the system during our testing process and we simply couldn’t. That solidified our decision to move forward with the deployment of Pivot3 across our infrastructure.”

“The fact that Pivot3 HCI expands quickly and easily was also a critical factor for Caesars. The Pivot3 solution can be extended into other datacenter workloads depending on our organizational needs,” he said, “We’ve already experienced this benefit when we had to make a configuration change. We added a node on a temporary basis and then removed it once the setup was complete. The entire cluster can expand at any time.”

The results

Caesars updated six venues with Milestone and Pivot3 in 2017, with plans to complete additional upgrades this year. The sites vary in size but incorporate anywhere from 75 to more than 200 video surveillance cameras. Per gaming regulations, Caesars maintains 31 days of video retention and on average has four nodes and 70 TB of storage per site.

As IT becomes a greater force in the world of security, Caesars continues to evaluate how HCI streamlines business processes. The software-defined environment removes the need for dedicated, complex and proprietary hardware that once required dedicated teams to manage. Incorporating this approach has lowered costs and decreased complexity, while increasing the ability to scale. Additionally, the Caesars team now has the capacity to better adapt to new technology and find new ways to use video data to boost productivity, reduce loss and enhance safety.

“Overall, the Pivot3 solution is a vast improvement over what we had previously,” Rayer stated, “Our surveillance team trusts in the fact that it will protect our video data, and gives us the opportunity to expand into other datacenter workloads in the future. That level of peace-of-mind is highly valuable and impressive in today’s sophisticated gaming environment. Also, the opportunity to expand the use of Pivot3 into our datacenter gives us cost savings benefits going forward.”


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