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The real estate industry, like many other sectors, is making its way into the cloud. This transformation impacts how both residential and commercial properties are listed, searched, photographed, discovered by potential owners, and sold. Today, for example, realtors or brokers are often contacted only after the prospective buyer has used online resources to inspect properties. He or she has most likely already identified the leading candidates and is close to a purchasing decision.
This blog looks at the unique challenges and opportunities of the cloud real estate industry and how Cloud Volumes ONTAP is helping accelerate that journey, including two real estate customer success stories.
Cloud Real Estate: Opportunities and Challenges of a Digital Transformation
Although cloud adoption has been somewhat slower in real estate compared to other sectors, today ~80% of real estate’s top performers deliver their services using cloud technologies. Real estate companies are slowly but surely embracing the cloud for a variety of reasons, including:
- Cutting operational costs: Real estate is highly competitive so cutting costs matters. It is generally estimated that real estate companies can cut up to 30% of their IT spending by eliminating the need to maintain and manage in-house servers.
- Doing more, faster: With anywhere, anytime, any-device access to data and apps, real estate professionals can improve their productivity, including streamlining the negotiation and closing of more deals, faster.
- Enhanced data security: Although a lot of real estate data is public, companies also store sensitive information about owners, buyers, terms/prices of deals, and more. Real estate companies have discovered that public cloud service providers have invested heavily in cutting-edge security technology to offer a high level of data security.
- Better, more consistent workflows: Whether selling properties or managing them, cloud-based technologies such as automated workflows, smart contracts, real estate data analytics, and customer-relationship management (CRM) software for real estate are upping the game.
- Improved business continuity: The shift towards real estate applications requires high levels of availability and disaster recovery, using the cloud for secondary backups and data replication.
Along with opportunities, however, come challenges. In addition to the usual cloud computing challenges such as vendor lock-in and effectively managing storage and compute cost sprawl, perhaps the biggest challenge for real estate companies moving to the cloud is that they often have to continue to maintain legacy software systems. Thus, they are faced with the complexities of managing complex, hybrid infrastructures. That’s where Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help.
Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Real Estate
NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a complete data management solution that runs as an instance on the AWS or Microsoft Azure. It provides enterprises with single-pane visibility into and control over even the most complex hybrid, multicloud architectures. Some of its key benefits for real estate companies are:
- Robust, cost-effective backup for data protection: With Cloud Volumes ONTAP you can save up to 255 read-only, point-in-time snapshots per data volume. With NetApp’s unique incremental snapshot technology, there is virtually no impact on storage footprints or on performance.
- Minimal RPO and RTO disaster recovery SLA using SnapMirror® data replication to maintain an always-up-to-date cloud-based replica of a primary site.
- Built-in storage efficiencies, such as data compression, compaction, and deduplication can significantly lower costs. Plus, automated tiering moves data seamlessly between less-expensive object storage and more-expensive block storage formats on both AWS and Azure.
- Secure, smooth cloud-based file sharing using Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s drag-and-drop SMB/CIFS service to easily replicate data to and from the cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP also supports NFS shared storage.
- Single-pane data storage management across hybrid infrastructures using Cloud Manager to provide a single view of all the enterprise’s storage systems as well as easy cloud storage configuration and management.
- In a high availability (HA) configuration for AWS or Azure, Cloud Volumes ONTAP keeps a company’s environment operating at separate nodes. In the case of an outage in one environment, there is immediate failover to the other.
Real Estate Success Stories with Cloud Volumes ONTAP
In this section, we look at two companies that benefited from Cloud Volumes ONTAP and the NetApp features that make it work for cloud real estate.
Rohit Group: Rapid Cloud Adoption to Back Up a Global Organization
Although its roots were in home building in Western Canada, over the years the Rohit Group had diversified into land development, commercial properties, and real-estate lending and investing. With plans for national and global expansion, the company knew that its existing on-premises infrastructure would not be able to scale to meet the growing needs of its employees, customers and suppliers. It was also important to them to avoid the siloed data environment that could easily emerge with geographic expansion.
They knew that cloud was the way to get the scale and agility they were looking for, and they turned to NetApp as a possible storage resource option. In just 15 days out of a 30-day trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Rohit was able to transition its entire on-prem data center to the AWS cloud. That level of performance impressed the team at Rohit, and convinced them to adopt NetApp’s cloud data management platform.
Rohit sums up the benefits that Cloud Volumes ONTAP brings them as follows:
- Scalability: Using Cloud Manager, they can securely scale up or scale down large volumes from a single window.
- Ease of data storage management: Through Cloud Manager they can also easily replicate volumes, take snapshots, and define their own snapshot and synchronization schedules.
- Business continuity: They have a reliable, cost-effective disaster recovery site in the cloud.
- Accelerated speed of business and improved collaboration: There are no data barriers for their employees and suppliers, and their network drives are available from any location, with any device.
Syncing Big Data in the Cloud
This company is an online real estate listings portal for consumers and realtors. It is the #1 most visited homes-for-sale site, with millions of consumers viewing the website each month. Their comprehensive website relies on the ingestion of data from over 800 MLS (Multiple Listing Service) sources and refreshing its databases every 15 minutes. This is peak real estate technology.
The challenge that brought them to NetApp was the need to securely move ~2 billion files and more than 85 TB of data to the cloud within a reasonable timeframe and, more importantly, without impacting their website. They knew that, using their current methods, this prerequisite for complying with a corporate cloud-first mandate would take years.
To migrate within their target timeframe, they took advantage of NetApp Cloud Sync, a cloud-based software-as-a-service that works alongside Cloud Volumes ONTAP. Cloud Sync makes transitioning and synchronizing data from on-premises to cloud storage easy, inexpensive, and reliable. Working closely with the NetApp Cloud Sync team, the customer was able to move the billions of files in just 30 days.
Finally adopting the technology of the cloud, real estate is well on its way to a digital transformation. Given the huge quantities of data involved and consumer expectations for reliable, personalized, and up-to-date information and real estate technology, the industry can benefit from the high availability and reduced storage costs that Cloud Volumes ONTAP makes possible.