Everything as a Service: How Cloud Foundry is Fueling Innovation at CoreLogic

July 3, 2014 Paul M. Davis

featured-CFS-CoreLogicIn collaboration with Pivotal, CoreLogic is building a next-generation platform on Cloud Foundry for its data-driven apps and services. During a talk at the Cloud Foundry Summit 2014, Richard Leurig, Senior Vice President of CoreLogic’s Innovation Development Center, detailed how the company is moving beyond a complex legacy infrastructure in favor of one that enables agile development of new products that share a common component system.

CoreLogic provides financial, property and consumer information, analytics, and services to businesses and government institutions. While company serves a number of industries, its roots are in real estate and financial services. Its portfolio includes 40 years of transaction, property, and mortgage data, amounting to 3.3 billion records and 880 million transactions.

Encompassing over 540 products and 5000 applications, components, services, and tools, which run atop a range of server architectures and languages, CoreLogic’s infrastructure has traditionally been “complex, hard-wired, fragile, and expensive.” This presents significant barriers to innovating within a rapidly changing technology landscape, Leurig explained. He characterized the company’s current situation as “a lot of hardwired, duct-taped, banded-together IS systems that don’t really provide the basis for a platform for the future.”

Today’s technologies are radically different from those in the past, and the promise of new possibilities is driving CoreLogic to seek new approaches to rapidly developing and delivering data-driven services to customers utilizing mobile platforms, multiple devices, and numerous interfaces. Though such a transition is challenging for a large organization with a mature and complex legacy infrastructure, Leurig noted that it also presents a “real opportunity to change what we do and how we do it.”

CoreLogic’s vision for a new platform is one that offers ubiquitous access across devices and interfaces, single-sign on, and a modular approach to developing apps and tools which utilize common components and services that interact with the CoreLogic Data Repository. In this way, new products will derive from a shared ecosystem that is scalable, flexible, and efficient thanks to a hybrid cloud strategy.

Leurig outlined the design principles guiding the development of the new CoreLogic platform:

  • Developers focused on developing products, not managing tech stacks
  • Standard UI frameworks and style guidelines to speed up development
  • Components separated from applications, allowing independent upgrading
  • Reusable services with built-in high availability, DR & elastic scalability
  • Resource flexibility enabled by standard technologies

The goal, in Leurig’s words, is to offer “Everything as a Service.” This begins with a Platform Fabric built upon the principles of IaaS, PaaS, and Data as a Service, and goes all the way up the stack to the company’s consumer-facing web, mobile, and voice services. While evaluating potential engagements with technology partners, the team took into account a number of key considerations essential to realizing CoreLogic’s vision:

  • Development as a Service capability
  • Data as a Service capability
  • Scalability and resiliency
  • Architectural agility
  • Hybrid infrastructure support
  • Systems development life cycle (SDLC) integration
  • Market adoption
  • Support and operations
  • Ecosystem
  • Vendor lock-in concerns (Open)

To this end, the company’s Innovation Development Center chose to work with Pivotal to build its new platform upon its enterprise Cloud Foundry offering, Pivotal CF. Leurig cited Cloud Foundry’s open source standard, hybrid Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) support, technical stability, and level of industry adoptions as key factors in the decision. Moreover, Pivotal was compelling to CoreLogic thanks to its tight integration with the “the state-of-the-art data and analytics tools” within the Pivotal Big Data Suite, as well as Pivotal’s agile app development and data science services.

What has resulted is a fruitful and ongoing collaboration between CoreLogic and Pivotal. The team is working with both agile developers from Pivotal Labs and experienced data scientists from Pivotal Data Science Labs to build a next-generation data services platform upon the Cloud Foundry PaaS. The company was able to “hit the ground running” in February, Leurig said, beginning development of its first user-facing solution. This included an internal-facing data operation application and an external-facing client application which will be used by financial institutions to help in the underwriting process. The solution, slated for delivery on July 1st, had to run on a platform that ignored legacy constraints, yet could still “interoperate with the legacy” technologies. The second pilot project began development in April, with delivery scheduled for September.

Leurig acknowledged that “Our journey has just begun,” adding that CoreLogic sees great opportunity in the capabilities enabled by Cloud Foundry. “When we looked out at the technology industry a year ago,” he said, “we realized that enterprises today—companies such as CoreLogic—can take advantage of the same technologies that startups and Silicon Valley companies take advantage of.” Stating that companies that adopt this “new norm” will have a competitive advantage and differentiate themselves in their markets, Leurig praised Cloud Foundry’s open standards, interoperability, and robust feature set. He added that “all the common services and components we need to build out” will benefit from an ecosystem which is “leveraging the community that’s in this room,” acknowledging the role that community and collaboration will play in making this “new norm” a reality.

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