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IDC Report: HomeAway Grows with Dyn: Looking Back Six Years After Going to the Cloud for a Much-Needed DNS Upgrade

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©2015 IDC #257246 2 SITUATION OVERVIEW Organization Overview HomeAway provides an online marketplace for property owners and managers to rent their vacation homes to travelers as an alternative to traditional hotel accommodations. Its mission is to make every vacation rental in the world available to every traveler in the world. Much of HomeAway's growth has been through acquisition, having purchased 20 companies since its founding in 2005. Today, the company has over 1 million live online listings, with a presence in 190 countries. Founded as WVR Group in Austin, Texas, WVR became HomeAway in June 2006 and launched HomeAway.com, its flagship vacation rental site. In 2011, HomeAway announced an initial public offering. In CY14, HomeAway earned $446 million of revenue, nearly twice what it earned in 2011. As of February 2015 (the 10-year anniversary of the company), HomeAway was approaching 2,000 full-time employees. When HomeAway was looking to upgrade its DNS in 2008 and 2009, it was already on a steep uphill trajectory, having received $250 million in private financing. But it was still a midsize company then, with around 200 employees and two years away from being public. Challenges and Solution When Tropiano joined HomeAway in 2008, one of his first tasks was to find a way to improve the company's DNS. At the time, HomeAway was purchasing DNS through an arm of its datacenter provider. And while HomeAway still works with that datacenter provider and the company is happy with the services provided by the datacenter provider today, DNS was never the mission of the datacenter provider. That provider specialized in managed services and collocation, but for HomeAway, the provider added in DNS service for $50–100 per month — almost as an afterthought. With the low cost of DNS came constant failures and outages. The number of outages alone made it a necessity for HomeAway to look for a better solution, with each outage resulting in missed revenue opportunities. As a growing company doing its business online, outages weren't allowable. HomeAway wasn't thinking about whether or not to upgrade — it just had to decide what the best course of action would be in order to upgrade. Tropiano said that, before he joined HomeAway, there wasn't enough expertise within the young organization to run DNS in-house, which he preferred: Like most IT operations experts, for Tropiano, true control of IT assets means being able to know where exactly DNS is running. While HomeAway did evaluate multiple vendors, the most difficult decision was the initial one of whether to build or buy its improved DNS. Tropiano's initial hesitation was the feeling that when "you're in the role of providing that service, you somehow think that someone's going to take your job away because they're going to do it better." The hesitation to move to a cloud-based service wasn't about security or reliability or customization or any of the other commonly cited inhibitors of cloud adoption, but it was mostly a matter of control. Tropiano ultimately reconciled the loss of control with the realization that freeing up his time and his team's time for other work can be much more beneficial. DNS is a relatively simple service, but behind the scenes, there's a lot of complexity. And an IT staff doesn't have to do everything themselves. A good IT department can rely on experts from trusted vendors to do what they do best and focus on their own unique business needs. From there, HomeAway went through a vendor evaluation process. The process centered on which vendor the company felt it could trust to have ultimate control over the company's domains and assets and be the first touch point for its customer support. Cost was not a major factor as all the company's options had similar pricing. In 2009, HomeAway signed with Dyn. The migration period took about four months after a brief but successful trial period.

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