California Association of Realtors Discusses Its Cloud Migration

The cloud migration of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) led to deeper reassessment of how the organization handled its workloads. That was one of the takeaways recalled by Josh Sharfman, chief technology and innovation officer with the organization when discussing migrated resources from on-prem to the cloud via cloud service provider OVHcloud.

Sharfman says CAR made some forays into leveraging the cloud with certain elements before taking a deeper plunge with OVHcloud. He says CAR has existed for more than 110 years and has 225,000 members in California. The organization offers its members the ability to fill out real estate contracts online, he says, as well as access to transactional forms, along with other resources, such as a website with 10,000 pages of content.

Much of the development of the CAR website and its applications, to process membership for example, was homegrown, Sharfman says. “All of our computing, for all intents and purposes, was on premise. With time, we started migrating some of our workloads off of our prime to vCloud Air.”

That was a shared environment and represented a first toe in the water for CAR, he says. When VMware divested its investment in vCloud Air, OVHcloud picked up those assets. Sharfman says his association had a decision to make at the time. “Were we going to move those workloads from vCloud Air to some other private cloud? Were we going to move it to a public cloud? Or were we going to move those assets into the successor for vCloud Air, underneath the OVHcloud umbrella?”

‘Innovation Was Freedom’

Morris Herring, senior director for enterprise sales with OVHcloud, says he worked with Sharfman and his association since the days of vCloud Air and through the migration. “VCloud Air had very strict limitations on its capabilities and features, where OVH — innovation was freedom.” Herring says OVHcloud brought the association more redundancy and efficiency in the cloud.

When considering its options, CAR had 25 to 30 workloads with a maximum of 60 seconds of downtime, Sharfman says. It was important to maintain, if not improve on that, he says, because the association maintained its own identity provider and a single sign-on connection for members. “If we are down, they’re not making offers,” Sharfman says. “They’re not taking listings; They’re not their business.”

OVHcloud’s technology helped extend the networks from vCloud Air, he says, allowing the association to move its workloads without interruption to a private hosted cloud. “This was at a time before we had moved to Cloudflare, before we had the ability to load balance at the DNS [domain name system]and before we were able to have TTLs [time-to-live] down to one minute,” Sharfman says. “We were living in a world of TTLs of four hours.”

During the migration process, OVHcloud assessed the association’s workloads and offered input he says helped right size its compute environment. “We put our migration on hold for six weeks while we shut up and listened,” Sharfman says. This included receiving advice on best practices and having the chance to conduct extensive load testing.

Sharfman says his organization continues to look for more ways to make the most of the cloud, including enhancing its cybersecurity in the process. “Moving toward a full zero-trust environment is our next step,” he says. “The fact that we have complete control over our networking through [VMware] NSX is going to be very helpful in us making that migration without interruption, without impediment.”

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