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MeilleursAgents: helping a property valuation platform deliver added value with Google Cloud

About MeilleursAgents

MeilleursAgents is a French digital real estate platform that provides advanced comparison tools and accurate valuation information to help users buy and sell with confidence and determine a fair rental value.

Industries: Real Estate & Construction
Location: France

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About Padok

Google Cloud Partner Padok offers expertise in cloud infrastructure and DevOps to support its clients at every stage of their cloud journey.

MeilleursAgents powers its real estate valuation tools with Google Cloud to help its developers focus on creating new services with quick-to-deploy development environments.

Google Cloud results

  • Supports a powerful, scalable infrastructure that can handle large volumes of complex data
  • Drives the development of new services by supporting development teams with the right tools
  • Helps promote cost efficiency by reducing the operational burden for developers

Under 10 mins to deploy a new development environment

According to a 2021 report, France is in the top ten fastest-growing real estate markets in the OECD, with prices up by around 100% over the past decade. This is good news for French homeowners, but keeping up with changes in an evolving market can be a challenge for those looking to buy or sell.

To make this process easier to navigate, French real estate platform MeilleursAgents provides all the tools that a prospective buyer, seller, or renter needs in a single site. As well as a free valuation tool that delivers an accurate valuation of a particular address and its potential rental yield, the site offers an agency comparison tool, and listings of properties to buy and rent. On the B2B side, MeilleursAgents provides agents with the opportunity to create a digital display, helping them to connect with prospective buyers, and generate traffic for their websites.

Despite real estate agencies closing for several months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the past two years have been particularly busy for MeilleursAgents, as demand for French property has boomed. To keep up with growth and deliver the best possible user experience to platform users, MeilleursAgents decided to begin migrating its Google Cloud services to Kubernetes, with the support of implementation partner Padok.

"Our main challenge is the complexity of the data that we use to map the French real estate market," explains Thibault Lanternier, Head of Web Engineering at MeilleursAgents. "We have to handle a lot of geographical data, which is heterogeneous and varies between regions, which is why access to the powerful and scalable tools on Google Cloud is so important."

Switching to Google Kubernetes Engine for greater flexibility

When Lanternier arrived at MeilleursAgents, the company was already running its services using Google Compute Engine Virtual Machines (VMs), with limited workloads running on Kubernetes. It has now migrated around 60% of its workloads to Kubernetes, using Google Kubernetes Engine as an orchestration solution. It still uses Compute Engine VMs to run certain services, including its database, leveraging Google Cloud Storage to store images and other files relating to property descriptions, and Google Pub/Sub to share asynchronous events between applications.

For its networking needs, it uses Google Cloud Load Balancing and Google Cloud DNS, with Google Cloud CDN to share static content and for caching. Finally, its Business Intelligence team uses Google BigQuery and Google Cloud Bigtable to store data and generate dashboards.

"MeilleursAgents is a product-oriented company and our goal is to deliver new services as fast as we can, in order to get market feedback, and improve them once they're in production," says Lanternier. "Google Kubernetes Engine helps us do that by delivering flexibility and easy scaling, which is why we decided to make the switch."

"Our main challenge is the complexity of the data that we use to map the French real estate market. We have to handle a lot of geographical data, which is heterogeneous and varies between regions, which is why access to powerful and scalable tools on Google Cloud is so important."

Thibault Lanternier, Head of Web Engineering, MeilleursAgents

Working to create better development environments

As part of its Kubernetes migration, MeilleursAgents decided to restructure its development environments. To build new services, its developers must interact with more than 50 microservices, so it asked Padok to create independent environments for each of its eight teams. "We wanted dedicated development environments for each development team that would always be up-to-date, because we deploy new versions into production between 20 and 30 times a day," says Lanternier.

"Our key challenges were reducing the time it took to create new development environments, to help control costs, and to make it possible to easily create temporary environments," says Alan Longuet, Site Reliability Engineer at Padok. "We also wanted to support the developers to make the switch to this new approach, so they could use and maintain what we delivered autonomously. It's now used by more than 50 developers, who are able to manage the configuration of their environments independently."

Lanternier has been pleased with Padok's efficient communication during the project, as well as the results the solution has delivered. "I was really impressed with the project management side of things, which enabled us to closely follow what was going on," he says. "I have also appreciated Padok's technical expertise, which helped us to create a robust and reliable solution to a complex challenge."

"MeilleursAgents is a product-oriented company and our goal is to deliver new services as fast as we can, in order to get market feedback, and improve them once they're in production. Google Kubernetes Engine helps us do that by delivering flexibility and easy scaling, which is why we decided to make the switch."

Thibault Lanternier, Head of Web Engineering, MeilleursAgents

Creating a happier, more efficient team of developers

By working with Padok on its Google Cloud infrastructure, MeilleursAgents has improved the efficiency of its developers. "With Google Kubernetes Engine, our developers are now able to test services in an environment that's much closer to real-life deployments," says Lanternier. "That reduces the chance of errors in production, which has increased the reliability of our system."

Previously, it used to take two hours to create a new development environment, whereas creating a new team-based environment now takes around five to ten minutes. The time developers spend on fixing and updating environments has also been reduced from half a day a week, to several minutes. "Our developers are much happier, as they're no longer frustrated," says Lanternier. "Their ability to focus on development and not operations also amounts to a significant cost saving for us."

MeilleursAgents is planning to continue its migration, migrating an additional 12 applications to Kubernetes with ongoing support from Padok. It's also looking to move to managed services where possible to continue reducing operational tasks, such as switching its SQL database to Google Cloud SQL, and using Google Cloud Functions. “Our development team has grown a lot, so it's important to make our operations team as efficient as possible so they can focus on value-added tasks,” says Lanternier. “That's our next objective on Google Cloud.”

"Our developers are much happier, as they're no longer frustrated. Their ability to focus on development and not operations also amounts to a significant cost saving for us."

Thibault Lanternier, Head of Web Engineering, MeilleursAgents

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About MeilleursAgents

MeilleursAgents is a French digital real estate platform that provides advanced comparison tools and accurate valuation information to help users buy and sell with confidence and determine a fair rental value.

Industries: Real Estate & Construction
Location: France

About Padok

Google Cloud Partner Padok offers expertise in cloud infrastructure and DevOps to support its clients at every stage of their cloud journey.