Rustomjee: Increasing speed, agility, and worker mobility with Google Cloud Platform

About Rustomjee

Operating for 23 years, Rustomjee has carved a niche for itself in the ever-growing real estate sector. Rustomjee's portfolio includes 14.32 million square feet of completed projects; 12 million square feet of ongoing development; and another 28 million square feet of planned development. These projects span the best locations of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Rustomjee adds value to the lives of its homeowners through its core business, its corporate social responsibility initiatives, and its philanthropy. The business strives to ensure that every blueprint includes child-friendly spaces for parks, playgrounds, and learning rooms, encouraging families to spend quality time with each other.

Industries: Real Estate
Location: India

About InfraBeat Technologies

A Google Cloud partner, InfraBeat Technologies specializes in SAP deployments in complex customer environments. Founded by two former SAP professionals, InfraBeat Technologies has more than 125 employees and 1,000 person-years of SAP experience. The business quickly ramped up its expertise in Google Cloud Platform during the Rustomjee engagement.

Using Compute Engine, Rustomjee has lowered its compute costs, initially by 56%, and delivered reliable remote desktop application access, while reducing task completion and enterprise resource planning system backup times.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduces spend on compute by 56%
  • Cuts the time to complete customer invoicing workloads from 13 hours to 2 hours
  • Lowers ERP system backup times from 6 hours to 6 minutes

Cuts the time to allocate resources to new projects from 8 weeks to 20 minutes

Operating for 23 years, Rustomjee has carved a niche for itself in the ever-growing real estate sector. Rustomjee's portfolio includes 14.32 million square feet of completed projects; 12 million square feet of ongoing development; and another 28 million square feet of planned development. These projects span the best locations of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Rustomjee adds value to the lives of its homeowners through its core business, its corporate social responsibility initiatives, and its philanthropy. The business strives to ensure that every blueprint includes child-friendly spaces for parks, playgrounds, and learning rooms, encouraging families to spend quality time with each other.

In the 17 years Rustomjee's Corporate Head of Information Systems, V M Samir, has worked with the business, it has grown from 100 employees to more than 800 employees – primarily professionals such as engineers, architects, lawyers, accountants, and regulatory consultants. The remainder work in marketing, sales, administration, security, human resources, and other associated areas.

Historically, Samir says, the real estate industry globally has lagged in embracing new workplace technologies, making building business cases, securing sponsorship, completing implementations, and encouraging adoption a difficult task.

G Suite powers cloud journey

Rustomjee started operations running an on-premises email service. However, the business wanted to upgrade its anti-spam capabilities and, in 2007, turned to G Suite. "There was no practical way I could build an anti-spam engine within that service that could match the power of the G Suite anti-spam engine and the intelligence held within its databases," says Samir. "Our second key reason for moving was the lower cost of G Suite relative to an on-premises service that required us to spend on compute, backup, storage, and administration resources. Running G Suite would also help ensure users could still access their emails if their machines experienced an outage."

Finally, G Suite enabled Rustomjee to access and compose emails from any location – a luxury for a real estate organization whose workers often attended construction projects with poor connectivity. "Finally, G Suite was the only service in those days that integrated calendar, meeting, and storage repositories through single sign-on. Google was so far ahead of the curve at that time and we saw the potential of G Suite to transform our communications and ultimately our business."

"We did not have to shut down the business operations during the migration because Google Cloud Platform complemented every idea we had. And when my business users came to work on the Monday morning [after the final migration], everything was stable and performance had improved. We told them our infrastructure had changed and they should start thanking Google Cloud!"

V M Samir, Corporate Head, Information Systems, Rustomjee

The business started its cloud and IT modernization journey by decommissioning its on-premises email servers and using G Suite for Business. It began testing in March 2007 and went live with all production email services for 500 users in June 2008.

The intuitive nature and ease of use of G Suite made the transition seamless. "I did not have to undertake a large-scale change management exercise," says Samir. "Users bought into the program and acquired the necessary knowledge quickly, meaning our adoption rate was extremely fast."

With G Suite, email became the new norm to complete a range of tasks at Rustomjee. "We started exchanging CAD drawings, videos, high resolution images, and other large files with our consultants," says Samir. "These files had been difficult to store in on-premises environments."

Rustomjee has improved collaboration and performance with G Suite, primarily due to four services. Gmail enables workers to communicate seamlessly externally and with each other, while Calendar enables them to set up and synchronize meetings. These meetings can be conducted through Hangouts Meet. "If a group of people internally need to discuss a work order or contract, they can coordinate calendars, sit at different locations within our organization, and collaborate using audio and video on a common service," says Samir. "They can also work from and update a single document in Drive."

With email and other collaboration applications running smoothly, Rustomjee saw an opportunity to enhance its technology infrastructure. The business had started operations running workplace applications on servers in small air-conditioned rooms. These servers ran databases and applications that sent data across a network to endpoints including desktops and laptops.

Expansion and the changing demands of workplace technology prompted Rustomjee to upgrade its capabilities, and the business commissioned a data center. However, Rustomjee's continuously fast-growing compute and storage requirements, as well as the need to access new technologies to innovate and compete, quickly strained its technology model. "We required eight weeks each time we needed to add new compute and storage to our environment," says Samir. "In addition, the heavy investments in our captive data center meant we were unable to easily leverage new technologies and decommission old technologies."

Public cloud supports growth

Rustomjee reviewed its options and decided public cloud services could best meet its ongoing needs. "The rising cost of maintaining old hardware would force us to refresh data center technologies every five to seven years," says Samir. "More broadly, a hardware-defined data center could not adapt quickly in the cloud-computing world, making it difficult to align compute with growth."

The business started by moving its corporate website and microsites to a public cloud service to accommodate increased traffic delivered from a change in business strategy. "We saw an opportunity to shift our marketing and advertising from print advertising to digital platforms," says Samir. "We wanted to be available to buyers from the point at which they start looking at properties online."

However, Rustomjee's digital marketing teams found it difficult to scale instances in line with demand, and work with complex user administration screens and control panels.

"With Google Cloud Platform, we've achieved a considerable reduction in timelines and simplified technology management and administration. All of our business users are delighted."

V M Samir, Corporate Head, Information Systems, Rustomjee

Google Cloud Platform presented an opportunity for Rustomjee to run its websites and microsites in a reliable, scalable, and responsive infrastructure. "Our evaluation confirmed Google Cloud Platform could support our growing demand for compute and storage," says Samir. 'In addition, because we undertake projects that are geographically distributed, networking – not only within the data center, but that could be accessed from any location – was very important. Only Google Cloud Platform had its own networking infrastructure."

"More broadly, in a cloud environment, we could select any database we needed and start consuming operating systems as a service," he adds. "In addition, we did not have to invest capital in licenses and hardware and we could always resize network bandwidth. Further, we could take advantage of pay-as-we-use cloud services, and link this to business growth."

Google Cloud Platform also allowed Rustomjee to reduce the size of the teams needed to manage and operate its infrastructure. "When you have infrastructure running in the data center and in disaster recovery locations, you need to have a large pool of resources working around the clock to ensure constant uptime, sound backup, and good replication measures in place," says Samir. "With the cloud, everything is simplified and we do not have to consider issues like how many hard drives have failed in on a particular morning."

The business started testing and created its first virtual machine instance to Google Cloud Platform in April 2017. Because the Mumbai data center was not yet operating Rustomjee initially hosted its instances in the Google Cloud Platform Singapore Region. This initial move enabled the business to reduce the number of required virtual machine instances from six to one. After a year of running the website on Google Cloud Platform, the business found the simplicity of scaling compute resources meant its digital marketing teams were running more campaigns and servicing more leads, while compute spend had fallen by 56 percent. Furthermore, Rustomjee was not experiencing latency that impacted the user experience.

The opening of the Google Cloud Platform Region in Mumbai in late 2017 gave Rustomjee an opportunity to use compute, storage, and networking services located domestically. The business decided to go all-in on Google Cloud Platform and migrated a range of applications to the service.

These included an SAP enterprise resource planning system, running initially on Oracle but moved to the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform, with the assistance of advisory consultants from a leading firm. This system is integral to Rustomjee's successful operations, meaning it has to be highly available and responsive. "All our financials are captured and stored in this system, as well as projects, materials management, order management, financial systems, and sales ordering systems, both procurement and supply-side," says Samir. "In short, we cannot live without SAP ERP!"

Rustomjee turned to SAP specialist partner InfraBeat Technologies, a leading network implementation provider, and Google engineers to complete the migration successfully. "We were all in this together and collaborated closely to deliver the project successfully," says Samir. "We were very impressed by the expertise and skills of everyone involved."

A nine day migration

With assistance from Google Cloud and the partners, Rustomjee moved all its SAP workloads, from sandbox to development, development to quality, and quality to production, in just nine calendar days, without impacting the business. "We did not have to shut down the business operations during the migration because Google Cloud Platform complemented every idea we had," says Samir. "And when my business users came to work on the Monday morning [after the final migration], everything was stable and performance had improved. We told them our infrastructure had changed and they should start thanking Google Cloud!"

Moving to Google Cloud Platform enabled the business to complete certain customer invoicing workloads in just two hours, down from 13 hours previously. Backups of the SAP enterprise resource planning system that had taken up to six hours, were now being completed in six minutes.

"We have now fully embraced a cloud-first approach and have moved 100 percent of our workloads to the cloud. We depend totally on Google Cloud Platform to run our business."

V M Samir, Corporate Head, Information Systems, Rustomjee

Eight weeks down to 20 minutes

Rustomjee has also cut the eight week cycles needed to set up the infrastructure and applications for a new real estate project, and integrate it into the SAP system, to just 20 minutes. "With Google Cloud Platform, we've achieved a considerable reduction in timelines and simplified management and administration," says Samir. "All of our business users are delighted."

With its website and enterprise resource planning system running successfully on Google Cloud Platform, the business decided to move its virtual application delivery environment into the service. "We decided to move all 800 of our employees into the cloud, so they could access applications through any endpoint, be it a mobile phone, tablet, thin client, desktop, or laptop," says Samir.

The business decided to replace an existing application virtualization product with public images available on Compute Engine, with testing of Android, iOS and Windows operating systems across a range of devices proving highly successful. "Running the remote desktop service in Compute Engine and using public images enabled us to operate a leaner, simplified desktop as a service environment," says Samir. "We have been able to deploy business function-specific virtual machine instances on the cloud and compartmentalize data to the business functions that need them. The business completed the move – including 8.1TB of data – in just six weeks. "The only workloads we did not move during that period were intensive workloads for visualization," says Samir.

However, the four teams that did not use the remote desktop as a service environment – and that created visualization-intensive workloads – were working in traditional ways, compromising productivity and increasing risk. "They used to be given a desk in their respective offices and their workstations loaded with the applications," says Samir. "There was no way of taking hourly backups of these devices and there was no recovery mechanism for the applications, because they were not in the data center.

"The other challenge was what happens to the data, because we operate out of multiple locations. The users in these four teams always had to come back to pre-assigned desks and continue working from there. This was counterproductive."

The business subsequently implemented virtual machine instances with GPU access for visualization-intensive workloads. "We started evaluating Nvidia T4 (Tesla) GPUs in the Mumbai Region on 13 February and went live on 11 March in Mumbai," says Samir. "By moving these 40 team members to Google Cloud Platform, we have enabled them to work with visualization workloads from any location, improving productivity and flexibility."

Focus on core business

With Google Cloud Platform, Rustomjee can focus on running real estate projects and using technology to enable them. "I don't have to refresh my technology every five to seven years, and I can leverage new technologies as they come on stream," says Samir.

Reliable application access

With the flexibility and scalability of Google Cloud Platform, Rustomjee is now well positioned to support further growth and operate in accordance with the time-limited nature of the real estate industry in India. "If we have promised to hand over the keys to a customer by a certain deadline and we fail to do so, we face a penalty of 10 percent of the cost of the project," explains Samir. "The Indian Government introduced this regime in 2017 and business and technology has to align with its requirements.

"Google Cloud Platform is the right service to move us forward and enable us to overcome these challenges," he adds. "We have now fully embraced a cloud-first approach and have moved 100 percent of our workloads to the cloud. We depend totally on Google Cloud Platform to run our business."

About Rustomjee

Operating for 23 years, Rustomjee has carved a niche for itself in the ever-growing real estate sector. Rustomjee's portfolio includes 14.32 million square feet of completed projects; 12 million square feet of ongoing development; and another 28 million square feet of planned development. These projects span the best locations of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Rustomjee adds value to the lives of its homeowners through its core business, its corporate social responsibility initiatives, and its philanthropy. The business strives to ensure that every blueprint includes child-friendly spaces for parks, playgrounds, and learning rooms, encouraging families to spend quality time with each other.

Industries: Real Estate
Location: India

About InfraBeat Technologies

A Google Cloud partner, InfraBeat Technologies specializes in SAP deployments in complex customer environments. Founded by two former SAP professionals, InfraBeat Technologies has more than 125 employees and 1,000 person-years of SAP experience. The business quickly ramped up its expertise in Google Cloud Platform during the Rustomjee engagement.

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