Founded in 1995, REA Group Ltd. is a leading property marketing and advertising company, and operates Australia’s leading residential and commercial property websites realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au, European sites casa.it, atHome.lu and immoRegion.fr, Chinese property site myfun.com, and a number of iProperty online property portals in Asia. REA also holds investments in U.S.-based Move, Inc. With a unique audience of more than 3.6 million every month (Nielsen, March 2015 – March 2016, desktop and msite), realestate.com.au is a market-leading website in Australia for residential property. REA Group also offers award-winning mobile apps, including an Apple Watch property finder app.
Moving from big releases to a continuous delivery approach
With 42 million site visits per month on average (Nielsen, six months to December 2015, desktop and msite) and more than 5 million app downloads (Google Play and iTunes, total downloads to January 2016), REA Group is successfully delivering on its goal of empowering people by making the property journey simple, efficient, and stress-free. As it rapidly expands its presence not only in Australia, but the U.S., Europe, and Asia as well, REA Group understands that becoming and remaining a market leader requires constant innovation and reinvention, including adopting potentially disruptive new technologies such as virtual reality and three-dimensional scanning.
The need to constantly create and evolve was the driving factor behind the company’s move to embrace both the cloud and a DevOps approach. “Before we moved to DevOps, all of our deployments were gigantic, big-bang type releases that were weeks apart,” says Colin Panisset, global infrastructure lead for REA Group. “Each deployment had a huge number of changes, with large amounts of failure and lots of rollback. Worse yet, there was little information or insight into why things had gone wrong.”
As it began moving to the cloud and forming a DevOps culture, REA Group realized that it was missing a major component: a way to track and measure application performance, customer experience, and business metrics. “We had to have a way to see performance issues in real time throughout the application stack and identify points of contention as well as root causes of problems,” says Panisset. “And we wanted to gain meaningful metrics about whether a given change was good for the customer or not.”