Entegral takes the lead by being the first real estate service provider in Southern Africa to make this bold move. Our new cloud infrastructure will allow us to scale our products and services to new levels and provide an unparalleled service uptime. Although we have an excellent track record with service uptime, the outages caused by last week’s hardware failures on our dedicated servers, prompted us to make the move earlier than the planned switchover in June. With over 100 new SEO profile websites launched in November 2010 we were also quickly outgrowing our dedicated server environment.
What is ‘the cloud’?
Cloud computing provides Entegral with the power of a shared pool of configurable computing resources (i.e. servers, networks, storage, etc) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort. It provides a level of flexibility & uptime in our hosting environment not possible with traditional ‘dedicated’ servers we were running on until now. In short, more computing power when we need it, more storage for photos, files etc, and definitely more control.
Cloud computing is all the hype right now in the IT world. Large companies like Google and Facebook rely on cloud computing to serve millions of users simultaneously and provide tons of reliable storage.
One of the other big advantages is how environmental friendly it is, with up to 90% less electricity consumption when compared to traditional servers. Our new hosting infrastructure is cutting edge to say the least, and a long term solution that can scale with your and our business.
How was the move to the cloud done?
We started researching & testing local and international cloud hosting infrastructure solutions more than a year ago. Our USA office then launched www.helpusell.com on the cloud and we soon began to see the benefits associated with cloud computing. We also investigated ‘virtual servers’ which provides better uptime than dedicated servers, but have other drawbacks and less functionality when compared with a fully fledged cloud solution.
Towards the end of 2010 we converted and tested our key products on the industry leading, Amazon AWS Cloud solution. After lots of tweaking and finding the right combination of services to use, we launched www.MyProperty.co.za on the Amazon Cloud at the end of January 2011. Confident of our new solution we launched our key national clients on the cloud, while still keeping backup sites on our dedicated servers in case something went wrong.
3 Months on we were satisfied with the overall results and planned for the switchover of our websites and the OMS to the cloud early in June. On Friday 20 May we unfortunately experienced an outage on our dedicated servers which prompted the move earlier than expected. This event just confirmed that we have made the right decision. Working 20 hours/day over the last week to get everything in place was a wonderful commitment from the Entegral team. The move also involved moving over 10,000,000 property photos over to our new servers!
Building for the future
Back in 2005 we launched Southern Africa’s first online real estate management system (OMS) in South Africa and Namibia. Our competitors downplayed the technology as being expensive ,“you have to be on the internet all the time!”, but today, ironically, most are following in our footsteps to port their systems to online. We are now again at a technology cross road with the early adoption of cloud computing technology.
Rest assured, we have done (a lot of) homework and you are in safe hands. Our new infrastructure also opens the doors to other opportunities for enterprise level websites and systems including the recently launched Hello Doctor, running on our cloud platform.
Lastly, in case you wonder who Amazon is, here is a slideshow giving some insight.