Customer Spotlight: Casai
Casai is a hospitality concept designed for today’s generation of technology nomads. Casai offers customers beautiful, curated apartments in Brazil and Mexico that merge the design and comforts of a boutique hotel with the technology of a San Francisco home and the local ambiance of a vacation rental.
About 50% of Casai’s bookings come through their marketing website, which is built on Django with a React front end. The remaining 50% comes through third parties like Airbnb managed through a property management system (PMS) called Guesty.
Casai acquired Loopkey – a physical access management platform – early in 2022 to enable Casai to improve and automate the process of giving and removing access to properties.
Finding the Right People - or Product
Casai’s marketing site is architected as a monolith and is hosted on AWS, but the engineering team develops new functionality as microservices with the intent of decomposing the monolith over time. Daniel Sandoval, Casai’s VP of Engineering, initially considered building and maintaining Kubernetes clusters in AWS EKS for deploying these new microservices.
The real challenge, however, proved to be finding the talent necessary to manage Kubernetes once the cluster was up and running. Casai found it very difficult and expensive to recruit and retain DevOps talent. Candidates who had the qualifications they needed were in such high demand that they were a constant flight risk.
Given these headwinds, Sandoval was open to a tip from Casai’s previous CTO about a product called Control Plane that might alleviate the need for a full DevOps team
Getting to Market Faster
After an evaluation period, Casai began deploying new microservices – such as a messaging service for Casai’s guests – on Control Plane while continuing to host the monolith on AWS. This enables Casai to deploy new microservices much faster.
Casai chose to run these microservices in the same AWS region as their monolith and uses Control Plane’s Universal Cloud Identity to connect to AWS RDS and SQS without having to embed credentials in each workload.
Casai has also chosen to run test and dev environments in Control Plane because the platform enables them to scale these workloads to zero when not in use – thereby reducing cost without slowing down development.
Helping Developers Help Themselves
One of Sandoval’s key challenges is how to optimize his own time while keeping his developers working productively. He doesn’t want to be constantly on call for DevOps support, forcing each developer to wait for his availability.
Because Control Plane is far easier to learn and easier to use than EKS, Casai’s application engineers and data engineers can operate independently – supported not by a DevOps team but by a simpler development environment
A Separate Environment for Loopkey
Loopkey – Casai's integrated technology for granting and revoking physical access to its properties – runs on a separate technology stack with a separate monolith hosted on AWS.
Similarly, Casai deploys new microservices for Loopkey on Control Plane and (because the Loopkey monolith is better packaged) they may choose to move the Loopkey monolith to Control Plane at some point. The physical Loopkey locks are used in all of Casai’s properties in Brazil and they are integrating the Loopkey API with the existing locks for properties in Mexico.
Casai offers their customers curated, tech-forward accommodations with everything customers need already in place. Similarly, Control Plane offers Casai a curated development environment with key functionality built-in to help them bring concepts to market faster.