Residential classifieds service portal, Private Property, has pioneered a new approach to online business with the support of Microsoft Windows Azure – an open and flexible cloud platform.
Established over a decade ago, Private Property is South Africa’s most popular online classifieds service for real estate agents, private sellers, prospective buyers and landlords. With over one million monthly unique visits, it has swiftly become the ‘gold standard’ property guide for the local market.
“During the course of its IT infrastructure life cycle interacting with a Microsoft SQL database, additional services and solutions were simply ‘bolted on’ as and when required,” explains Simon Bray, COO at Private Property.
By 2012, he says, the infrastructure supporting the portal could simply no longer be expanded. This obstacle was further exacerbated by the portal’s domestic hosting agreement, as locally situating such a popular website had become extremely expensive.
Private Property’s technical team began investigating potential commercial grade public cloud solutions using on premise hardware as well as a more favourable leased environment.
The group identified Microsoft Windows Azure – an open and flexible cloud platform that enables enterprises to swiftly build, deploy and administer applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres, as the most appropriate solution.
Bray comments that although this model departed from Private Property’s traditional on premise, locally hosted approach, it offered several benefits from a scale, cost and usability perspective. Additionally, the portal’s long-standing status as a Microsoft house bolstered its choice to opt for Windows Azure.
“Azure’s ability to scale our server resources on demand has allowed us to build a portal that can easily and cost-effectively handle the changing network load,” he adds.
“The cost benefit associated with Windows Azure’s cloud environment compared to local offerings is roughly eight times more affordable. This has allowed us to reallocate resources to other essential elements – enabling Private Property to grow as the demand increases. This, I believe, has been the most important gain for Private Property,” concludes Bray.