Adrian Poole, Director, Digital Natives UKI, discusses Rightmove’s recent move to the Google Cloud.
Rightmove’s mission is simple: make home moving easier. In 2020, its app and website saw over two billion visits from people looking to find the right property for them. In fact, the online property titan has had a bumper year, with over 100 of the company’s busiest ever days for visits all happening in the last 12 months.
Having led the charge in transforming the UK property market for both home-hunters and estate agents since 2000, Rightmove is no stranger to innovation. Its mature on-premises infrastructure had served it well. However, to meet increasing demand for its services and continue its market-leading innovation, it needed to take its technology platform to the next level. This meant finding a solution that would enable the business to develop new features and update existing services rapidly and cost-effectively, all while meeting its sustainability goals.
And so, boxes (theoretically, of course) were packed and the moving van was on the way to a new life with Google Cloud.
Moving with containers
While Rightmove’s audience may use boxes to move, Rightmove is using containers — of the Kubernetes kind, to be precise — and has initially started building and testing using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), a managed, production-ready environment for running containerised applications. “Everything we do is to deliver more value to our customers. We make over 2,000 updates and additions to our services a year, so a key focus area for us is improving time to production and, in turn, time to market,” explains Andrew Tate, Head of Technology Operations at Rightmove. GKE will enable the company to build and deliver new services faster, automate upgrades to improve customer experiences, and, importantly, scale in line with traffic peaks. In the UK, that’s at 8.48pm on Wednesday during the final ad break on prime-time TV. With this approach it will also reduce its operational overheads, freeing up developer time and empowering them to focus on experimentation and innovation.
A sustainable Rightmove
As part of Rightmove’s own sustainability journey to net-zero, it wants to be able to run services more environmentally consciously. Google Cloud’s commitment to 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030 was another key driver for the move. Through Google Cloud, the industry’s cleanest cloud, the company will be able to not only run workloads in the places that have the most carbon-free energy supply, but also ensure that it is consuming the minimum amount of power that is needed to support maximum users at a given point in time.
Looking to the future Already utilising Google Cloud’s data analytics capabilities to inform its marketing campaigns, Rightmove is also looking to expand its use of BigQuery — our serverless, highly scalable data warehouse — in order to transform the way it uses data internally, and eventually create a more centralised data solution on Google Cloud. By unifying different data sources internally, it will be able to gain valuable insights that will enable its teams to make more effective, data-led decisions and enhance its product set further.