REA Group lists with hybrid Cloud

VMware hybrid Cloud to aid overseas expansion and speed up website development

Melbourne-based REA Group (ASX:REA), operator of property website realestate.com.au, has implemented VMware's hybrid vCloud to aid its overseas expansion and Web application development over the next few years.

REA Group head of IT operations, James Wilson, told Computerworld Australia that the company wants to target more overseas markets — it presently operates in Italy, Hong Kong, France and Germany — and the deployment of Cloud computing offered the company a faster turn around on projects and less capex spending.

"Using a hybrid Cloud means we can take a cost intensive three month project down to a one week project with some minimal investment," Wilson said.

"But the real value for me with Cloud computing is not necessary cost but our agility and speed to market."

According to Wilson, the real estate website is one of the largest in Australia with 8 million visitors per month, and at present his IT department is focused on increasing website performance because of high volume of traffic.

Part this involves the use of the hybrid vCloud to reduce the time it takes to push code out to REA Group's local and overseas websites.

In addition, he said the company was building a private Cloud to service its three data centres, two of which are in Sydney to serve the Australian operations and the other is in Italy.

"I don't see this as disaster recovery because we're building the private Cloud across all three of those data centres as the performance of the sites is vital for our consumers and real estate customers," Wilson said.

Ongoing business growth was also a factor in the move to Cloud computing, with REA Group reporting a a first half profit of $31.2 million .

Wilson admitted that the company had been through some "tough climbing" over the last 18 months as it "ripped out" a legacy Perl code base and replaced it with a Java and Ruby on Rails stack 15 months ago.

The Ruby on Rails deployment was part of the group's strategy to revamp realestate.com.au.

REA Group chief information officer, Daniel Oertli, said at the time that the Rails work included a

Since the website revamp, Wilson said the company had rolled out new smartphone applications for Apple's iOS platform and Android.

Wilson said REA Group chose VMware's Cloud offerings because of application delivery and the ability to get "more bang for buck" out of the company's existing technology stack.

He said it was too early to see a return on investment, but there are plans to push the vCloud offerings out to its European operation later this year.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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