RealEstate.com.au to migrate to Amazon Web Services

The property website is already extensively using Amazon's AWS for development, test, and quality assurance.
Written by Tim Lohman, Contributor on

REA Group (ASX:REA) is mulling a move of its RealEstate.com.au site out to Amazon Web Services (AWS) as part of a wider migration of its IT from private to public cloud infrastructure.

The website migration, which could potentially occur within the next 12 to 18 months, would be partly informed by a five-year organisational realignment that will see REA move from a functional department-based model to a line-of-business model organised by product.

Commenting on the potential move to Amazon, Damian Fasciani, technology services manager at RealEstate.com.au, said that hosting the company's site in a private cloud based in its Sydney datacentre has served the company well.

However, its use of Amazon for development, test, and quality assurance purposes during the last year and a half has led to a lot of value being developed on the public cloud.

"There are a lot of the efficiencies around one-click deployment, and our dev and test environments already sit there today," Fasciani said.

"We have a large investment in 18 months of development work into building out automation of our environment, building great tool sets to monitor and deploy parts of the site, better efficiencies around release, product releases every week as well — all that capability has been built into Amazon over a period of time."

In addition, the Amazon service would allow the company to make better use of the development assets in its Hong Kong, China, Luxembourg, and Italy offices, Fasciani said.

"Developing out of the cloud and deploying into centralised platforms into the cloud is monumental to how we can work more from a centralised approach with all our global offices," he said. "There is a big push to continue down that path."

Fasciani said that REA's cloud strategy is somewhat independent of REA's organisational realignment, but that he does expect the line-of-business model to push the company more toward the public cloud.

This is because each line of business would have the independence and resources to use the public cloud as and when needed.

"Each line of business has their own IT developers ... and will eventually have their own self-service where they can go to Amazon and deploy their own changes and can work independent of each line of business," he said.

"They can deploy a lot quicker. We envisage doing deployments each day to our site as needed — on-demand — by what our consumers and real estate agents are telling us, rather than having a bottleneck in everyone going back to a central area."

Commenting on the effect of REA's organisational realignment on IT, Fasciani said he expects the line-of-business approach to imbue IT with a vested interest in the success of specific products.

"There are also throughput and efficiencies in actually being able to get work and projects done more quickly and efficiently," he said. "It also ties into the way we work from an Agile and Lean [project management] perspective. In having the teams sit together, everyone has the one product at the forefront of their minds.

"When you are sitting sales people with finance people with developers, it is a cultural change, but we believe that will pull us forward over the next five years."

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