The real estate industry in the United States was worth $27.2 trillion in 2019, according to the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report, up 13% from its last peak in 2006. To put that into perspective, America’s three biggest companies (Amazon, Apple and Microsoft) were worth a combined total of nearly $3 trillion in 2019.
Real estate is a booming business, and no real estate company knows that better than Crye-Leike. It’s ranked #3 in the nation by REAL Trends, which ranks the top 500 independently owned real estate firms nationwide, and it’s the largest real estate company serving Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi.
What does it take to become a real estate giant?
“For one thing, our employees are passionate about what they do, so they are truly dedicated to our customers,” said David Neely, director of IT infrastructure at Crye-Leike. “Another important point is that Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company. We provide a wide range of in-house services for home buyers and sellers, such as mortgage, title and insurance. Our challenge was making sure the systems that support those services, including Microsoft SQL Server, are always available. If they’re not available, we could lose our competitive edge.”
Microsoft SQL Server supports in-house services and the company’s website, which displays property listings, photographs and information. The website is often a customer’s first introduction to Crye-Leike, so it must remain available around the clock.
“The problem was legacy backup,” Neely said. “Arcserve was slow and unreliable, so our backup window was too long, which meant we couldn’t back up as often as we would have liked. Recovery was slow too, sometimes taking hours. We needed to replace Arcserve with a solution that would strengthen and improve our business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) strategy so we could recover quickly in a catastrophic situation.”
Neely said a big sticking point was that legacy backup didn’t integrate with primary storage — Nimble Storage from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) — and ExaGrid, the company’s deduplication device. The IT team considered two replacements: Cohesity and Veeam®.
“Veeam was the natural fit for us because it integrates fully with HPE Nimble Storage and ExaGrid,” he said. “We couldn’t get over how simple, fast and intuitive Veeam is; it worked like a champ right out of the box.”
Veeam Availability Suite™ enabled Crye-Leike to strengthen and improve its BC and DR strategy, helping the real estate giant maintain its competitive edge in the industry. Veeam backs up the systems supporting in-house real estate services 75% faster than legacy backup and recovers them 99% faster. Veeam also supports data compliance regulations mandated by each state’s real estate commission.
“Veeam had been on our radar for a long time because it’s the leader in data protection,” Neely commented. “The best way for us to maintain our competitive edge in the industry is to deploy the best data protection possible, so that’s what we did, and we are delighted with our decision.”
Veeam backs up data from HPE Nimble Storage snapshots on-premises to ExaGrid and replicates off-premises. Because Veeam integrates with ExaGrid and Nimble Storage, data deduplication doubled and backup speed increased by 75%, enabling Crye-Leike to back up more often and reduce the risk of data loss.
Recovery is faster with Veeam too — 99% faster. Two features, Veeam Explorer™ for Storage Snapshots and Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server recover items in minutes. Another feature called On-Demand Sandbox™ for Storage Snapshots will let Crye-Leike test SQL Server updates in an isolated environment before implementing them in production.
“We feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with Veeam,” Neely said. “There are so many features we want to investigate.”
One of them is Veeam Cloud Data Management™. Crye-Leike is considering a cloud component in the future, and Veeam integrates seamlessly with any public or private cloud. Veeam Cloud Data Management will deliver data protection and availability across the company’s cloud environment, ensuring in-house real estate services are always available.
Neely said he and his colleagues also look forward to using Veeam monitoring and reporting more extensively for proactive issue resolution.
“Veeam provides a level of visibility into our backup infrastructure that we never had before,” he said. “When Veeam identified a connectivity issue involving VMware and Nimble, I scheduled a maintenance window and resolved it in a few minutes. If the issue had gone unresolved, it might have impacted access to our in-house real estate services.”
In-house services generate a lot of customer data that must comply with regulations from each state’s real estate commission regarding privacy. Crye-Leike operates across nine states, and each state’s regulation is slightly different. SureBackup® and SureReplica, two Veeam features, verify the recoverability of data in each backup and replica.
“We have to demonstrate we’re protecting buyers’ and sellers’ data,” Neel added. “Veeam provides reports on backup success and verifies their recoverability, making it easy to demonstrate compliance.”
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services is a full-service real estate company based in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1997, the company has more than 3,200 sales associates, 800 employees and 130 offices spread across nine states. Crye- Leike sells more than 30,000 units annually, averaging more than $6.5 billion each year since 2018.
The real estate industry is thriving in the United States, and so is Crye-Leike — it’s one of the largest independently owned real estate companies in the country, due in part to several competitive advantages. One advantage is a passionate, dedicated workforce. Another is the in-house real estate services it provides to customers such as mortgage, title and insurance. The challenge was making sure these services are always available. If they’re not, the company could lose its competitive edge. The problem was legacy backup. It was slow and unreliable, putting services at risk.