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Friday, January 14, 2011

Cloud Storage Case Study with a Real Estate Company

What is typical about a real estate company when it comes to storage need?

(1) Many mobile users.

Many employees need to go out to survey the properties, taking pictures and meeting potential buyers and sellers. These users need a solution to be able to access the property information from the field.

This is a typical use case for cloud storage – anywhere access.

(2) Sharing and Collaboration

It requires collaboration between the people back at the office and the people out in the field. They may need to share contract documents and property information.

This is a typical use case for cloud storage too – sharing and collaboration

(3) Outsourced IT department

Real estate companies are typical SMB companies that focus on the non-IT related business. They need IT infrastructure for the information sharing. However, they prefer ways to outsource IT work and reduce the IT related cost.

This fits the cloud computing paradigm shift.

(4) Multimedia Rich Data

Real estate needs to store many pictures and possibly 360 degree videos about the property. Employees need quick local rendering such as viewing the thumbnails of properties for better usability and productivity.

This fits the local + cloud hybrid use case.

As you see from the above 4 requirements, cloud storage is a very good fit for real estate companies.

Reference Implementation


In this reference implementation, the backend storage is Amazon S3, with a data set size from 50G – 300G.

The mobile users that needs to go out to survey the property and take picture of the property, they will have Gladinet Cloud Desktop installed on their laptops. This enables them to drag and drop to Amazon S3 from the mapped network drive to S3. The mobile workers will have easy connections to S3.

The office workers will access the Amazon S3 through a locally installed CloudAFS file server. For this server, we recommend Dell - Inspiron Desktop (Intel® Core™ i3 Processor / 3GB Memory / 750GB Hard Drive ~ $500) with Windows 7 and CloudAFS installed. Server OS will work too. Any other desktop PC will do too (as long as the hard drive is bigger than the S3 dataset size).  The office workers will enjoy local performance with a hybrid local/cloud solution.

The CloudAFS cache setting will be set to contain all of the dataset so the CloudAFS is capable of mirroring what S3 has. It is OK if the CloudAFS cache size is smaller than the S3 dataset, in this case, there will be cache management overhead.

Related Posts

Cloud Storage Strategy Series V–Mobile Workers

Cloud Storage Strategy Series IV – Sharing & Collaboration

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