Nederlandse Vereniging van Makelaars (NVM), or in English the Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents, is the largest association of real estate agents and experts in the Netherlands. Founded in 1898, NVM promotes the interests of its 3,000 members among consumers and policy makers in the Netherlands. One of the tools it offers is an online environment called Tiara, an extensive database of images and real estate transactions from 1985 to the present. Tiara enables NVM members and other real estate parties, like the real estate listing and advertisement site Funda.nl, to access complete real estate information for analysis or sales purposes. Since 2004, development, management and maintenance of Tiara is provided by Mirabeau, a full-service agency that helps the largest companies in Holland with Internet strategy, concept design and maintenance.
Originally, storage for Tiara was delivered through two IP-SANs — one master that replicated to the second for redundancy and DR — hosted at a large global service provider. In 2011, the NVM changed its policy from keeping one image for historical records to keeping all images. Available disk space shrank rapidly. In addition, there was a reliability issue with the SANs where images were not available to agents for an entire day. It was clear that a more scalable, cost-effective and reliable solution was needed.
NVM tasked Mirabeau with finding a storage solution that delivers cost-effectively scalability, high availability and reliable performance. The solution needed to provide storage and access to the existing 25 million images and be able to support an additional 30 thousand images per day. They looked at several solutions including multiple file systems, SQL server, Mongodb and Jackrabbit. However, only the Caringo Object Storage Platform fulfilled all of its requirements, providing a “nice, clean good architecture” in a storage solution that was easy to evaluate and integrate.
As part of the complete solution Mirabeau developed Fleuron, an interface layer to Tiara that is responsible for the processing, transcoding, metering, distribution and storage of various kinds of media files. Fleuron stores all current and historical files on Caringo CAStor. A two-cluster system is deployed with two replications of each file in the primary cluster and a third replica sent to the secondary cluster for DR purposes. Caringo Content Router automatically manages all replication. Media files in various formats are then made available to applications within the NVM and a growing number of applications of external real estate parties.
By using the Caringo Object Storage Platform, Mirabeau was able to offer NVM a cost-effective storage solution that can easily scale utilizing standard x86 server hardware with any size hard drives, providing a unified storage system that can scale to billions of files and hundreds of petabytes per location. NVM can now increase the number of images stored per house including support for high-resolution images for print or higher-quality transcoding. In addition, NVM can now expand its business by providing a central database for real estate organizations with outdated libraries that contains all relevant information in addition to just images.