Case Study: Eldorado Streamlines Development with Rocket Aldon
IT Business Management
Eldorado Hotel Casino is one of the largest hotel centers
for gaming and entertainment in Northern Nevada. At
the core of Eldorado’s success is its consistent ability to
regularly enhance the customer experience, while at the
same time applying a best-practices approach to its
overall business strategies and operations.
Eldorado attributes a lot of its success to the IT Group, for
both the development and management of all its key
applications that help run the business, and for the
creation of new web-based applications that help
Hospitality and Gaming
Challenge / Situation
PHP development projects introduced and growing. Package
promotion was manual and prone for error. Compliance issues and
requirements needed to be addressed.
Rocket Aldon Lifecycle Manager (IBM i Edition) and Rocket Aldon
Lifecycle Manager (Enterprise Edition)
Point-and-click package promotion. Development times
streamlined. Objects never unnecessarily promoted. Applications
easily changed on-the-fly. Audit trails easily delivered.
establish customer loyalty, ensure repeat business, and keep customers happy. On the customer side, this
includes the recent development of several new, on-site customer kiosks for gaming, with applications
that track customer rewards, create prizes, offer sweepstakes and more. There is even an employee kiosk
that is used for HR purposes where staff can check schedules, submit vacations, request forms, etc. These
kiosks don’t just benefit the customers—they also take administrative workload off the casino staff. For
the business-side, they are developing a browser based reporting process that allows decision makers to
quickly go from summary-to-detail on data previously only contained on paper reports. Both new
offerings have earned the IT team major accolades, but like any worthwhile project, have come with a few
bumps in the road as they add a new programming language into the mix—PHP.
The Back-End Business Apps—The RPG Side
The Eldorado IT team is responsible for developing and managing many business applications essential
to its in-house operations, including the Casino Customer Management System, Finance/HR/Payroll
System, the Hotel System, the Security Dispatch System, and many others. All of these require constant
updating, and need to be managed very carefully and accurately—not just as a smart business practice,
but also because of the State of Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) Electronics Systems Division and
Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) reporting. The GCB strictly monitors modifications to a casino’s management
system, requiring an explicit audit trail and detailed documentation of approval rights over application
changes; if something is awry, fines are levied for violations. It’s true for SOX as well.
“The best part is knowing that
Aldon LM works with any
platform—PHP, Java, RPG, or
.NET, so wherever Eldorado is
headed on the development
front—we know we will have
a solution that can deliver a
precise audit trail and provide
documentation for whatever
path we take.”
It was this intense audit/compliance factor which led Eldorado, a longtime IBM i shop, to first purchase
Rocket Aldon Lifecycle Manager (LM) 10+ years ago due to theability to deliver detailed and precise audit
trails and provide documentation of any application change that had been made and the processes that
lives around that. Ironically, what they found was that the Rocket solution brought process automation
benefits that went way beyond just meeting their compliance needs. They have since come to rely on
Rocket’s ALM products, from the standpoint of a best-practices approach to the development lifecycle.
Ken Berg, Programming Manager for Eldorado, says“In the beginning, we implemented Aldon LM because
of mandates from the board, without even really wanting the system. Now, we would never work in an
environment without it. The savings, visibility and automation that Aldon LM brings have been invaluable.”
PHP Enters The House
In the spirit of innovation, Eldorado’s IT team continues to release“cool”, new web-based applications. In
2008, PHP was introduced for the development of the kiosked-based applications and the web-based
reporting tool. It was these particular projects, both designed to focus on the customer experience, that
led them to start developing in PHP and also when they found Zend Studio.
PHP has given Eldorado access to a rich and dynamic object-oriented language, while the open-source
Zend Studio and Zend framework provide a myriad of building-block components to speed up time to
production, while promoting best practices along the way. Berg found PHP development with Zend
Studio to be exactly what they needed—not just because it sped up development, but it provided a short
learning curve and ease-of-use which helped put projects into production quickly. He is quite happy with
his PHP decisions.
However, these fast-moving, dynamic applications need constant updating and managing, and there was
some lack of project-tracking and visibility that created some frustration on the change management
front. This was particularly frustrating for an IT organization like Eldorado which had become very used to
the multitude of benefits they were getting from Aldon Lifecycle Manager for the back-end applications.
Berg recalls,“With the PHP development, I was finding myself having to copy whole directories to move a
package through the lifecycle, instead of just the objects that I needed. One web page would be so
enormous, when I knew it didn’t have to be. That’s when we decided we needed a change management
solution like Aldon for the PHP side of the house as well.”
Berg started doing a little investigation into a change management system that could handle the PHP
development environment. Fortuntately, he didn’t have to look far when he learned of Aldon’s
compatibility with Zend Studio for Eclipse and PHP. He researched a couple other vendors just to be sure,
but it didn’t take long. Berg says, “We had been using Aldon Lifecycle Manager for years and were so
extremely satisfied with the product. It was a no-brainer to go with Aldon for PHP.”
What The Rocket Aldon ALM Solution Brings.
Now, Eldorado is using Aldon LM for both its back-end RPG business applications and for the web-based
open-source PHP applications. It’s a decision that the Eldorado IT team would make again and again. So
what exactly does Eldorado value most in Aldon Lifecycle Manager? According to Ken Berg, it really comes
down to four key categories: compliance, promotions, inventory management and installation.
The Compliance Factor
With Aldon LM, Eldorado can:
• Automate internal documentation to address the process controls in place and their
effectiveness—an integral part of meeting GCB compliance.
• Enforce and document an automated, structured, and repeatable software development process
so the organization can successfully meet its compliance requirements.
• Establish end-to-end process automation, enforce approval management, automate activity
logging and lifecycle activity reporting, and enforce and document separation of duties.
Berg says,“The best part is knowing that Aldon LM works with any platform—PHP, Java, RPG, or .NET, so
wherever Eldorado is headed on the development front—we know we will have a solution that can
deliver a precise audit trail and documentation for whatever path we take.”
The Single Path to Production Factor
With Aldon Lifecycle Manager, Eldorado gains:
• Automated package promotion across both RPG and PHP projects, allowing objects, builds or
code packages to be promoted through the application lifecycle as a unit.
• Automated package deployment; as packages are imported and moved from stage to stage,
Eldorado IT can now deploy them to the appropriate target machines/locations for testing or
production. Rules can be created to identify which packages go to which servers at each stage of
• Applications that can be broken down into versions or releases. This helps maintain custom
versions or modified packaged applications.
• Integrity Assurance, meaning the target environment is cleared before a promote or import to
ensure that it is clean before promoting the package. The Rocket Aldon ALM solution knows
exactly what is in the target environment once the promote process is complete, so Eldorado can
be confident that they are testing exactly what they mean to test.
Berg adds,“The fact that Aldon LM is so intuitive, we can promote packages from development to testing,
and from testing to production, and have total confidence that they are going to the right place and
taking only the necessary objects and their dependencies. We are able to do our jobs more effectively
and meet our deadlines with ease.”
The Inventory Management Factor.
On the PHP development side, this is truly a key stand-out for Eldorado. With Aldon Lifecycle Manager,
• Quickly locate the components necessary for the task at hand, regardless of language, location, or
• Determine the current status of every artifact at a glance.
• Know that they are always working on the correct version of the artifacts, and that it is secure.
• Easily gather all components changed by the originating task, regardless of location, for ease of
management, testing, promotion, and documentation.
• Automatically capture each milestone event in the lifecycle e.g. checkout, promotion, approvals.
“I know that I can find something within seconds of looking for it with Aldon LM,”Berg adds.