Rightmove, the UK’s most visited residential property portal, has contracted ControlCircle to provide comprehensive datacentre services, along with Intelligent BGP Internet connectivity, to ensure systems availability and resilience.
Rightmove.co.uk is the UK’s leading property website with 90% of estate agents in the country and all large new home developers listing and advertising their properties on the site.
In 2007, 1,038,000 properties were displayed, up 236,000 on the previous year, with 4.9 billion page impressions served.
This gives Rightmove 79% market share of the online property market based on pages viewed, with over 3 million people looking at the website each month.
This has resulted in impressive financial performance for the company with revenue up 69% to £56.7 million for the year ending December 31, 2007, and profits increasing to £31.4 million, up 77% on the year before.
To improve manageability while maintaining the systems availability required, Rightmove has shifted to a three data centre approach but locating just one system at each.
While it does incur slightly higher datacentre space costs, Rightmove saves a quarter on physical hardware purchases as only three of everything is now purchased.
Rightmove has taken sixteen racks with ControlCircle, with datacentre space sourced from Interxion and VSNL, while the third datacentre is run and managed by Telstra.
As ControlCircle has invested in its own 20 gigabit Ethernet ring in London, all three datacentres are connected by this high speed link.
Written in Java, the Rightmove website is bespoke built and runs on Solaris-based Sun Microsystems’ servers, using Oracle 10g databases.
The company has also deployed a mix of high performance best of breed systems which include Juniper firewalls, F5′s Big-IP application load balancers, Foundry Networks’ BigIron RX-8 switches and network attached storage from NetApp.
While Rightmove has specified its own IT infrastructure, it has sought advice from and taken advantage of ControlCircle’s buying power with hardware suppliers.
The use of split key systems and locating them in three datacentres has proved very successful in terms of establishing the resilience required.
So if they lose a web server at one site, they would continue functioning because the load balancing technology would redistribute load to the other web servers, and if they lost a data base, they could even take a datacentre off line and function perfectly with just two while the issue was sorted.
Rightmove’s customers manage their data on its systems in two ways.
Firstly, bulk upload of data from the customers sites is uploaded directly to Rightmove’s servers at its three data centres using an automatic data feed.
Secondly, the customers can log into Rightmove Plus a portal typically used by estate agents which allows properties to be added, changed or deleted as necessary, along with pictures and plans submitted.
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