Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Dmitry Sotnikov, director of cloud solutions at Quest Software

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Dmitry Sotnikov, director of cloud solutions at Quest Software, about using Windows Azure to deliver the company’s software-as-a-service IT management solution. Here’s what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about Quest Software and the services you offer.

Sotnikov: Quest Software is a systems management company and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that helps customers improve IT efficiency for software applications, databases, server infrastructures, and virtual environments. We’ve helped more than 100,000 enterprise customers worldwide, including top companies in the banking, retail, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries.

MSDN: What was the biggest challenge Quest Software faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?

Sotnikov: Our products have traditionally been on-premises software that comes with product maintenance costs for our customers. Because of the cost of running on-premises solutions, we felt that it limited our ability to reach small and midsize businesses. To overcome these challenges and offer low-cost solutions, we knew that we wanted to adopt a software-as-a-service model.

MSDN: Can you tell us about the solution you developed with Windows Azure to help you deliver low-cost IT solutions?

Sotnikov: We’ve developed a set of IT management solutions that run in the cloud as a service: Quest OnDemand. Quest OnDemand Recovery for Active Directory is an online service that encrypts and securely sends to the cloud service all the changes that customers made to their Active Directory environment since their last backup, enabling quick recovery through a website. Quest OnDemand Log Management collects, encrypts, and sends to the cloud service event logs from servers that customers want to monitor. Customers can access audit trails from the website and get search results within a few seconds regardless of how much data is processed.

All of our code, except a small downloadable agent, runs in Windows Azure. Both solutions take advantage of enhanced data-center security in Windows Azure, SAML-based access controls that we can implement with Windows Identity Foundation, and dynamic storage and compute scalability to give administrators more secure off-site data storage and IT management functionality.

MSDN: What makes the Quest OnDemand service unique?

Sotnikov: As a leader in our industry, Quest Software is uniquely positioned to provide reliable and mature products for managing the Windows platform. With Windows Azure, we can now provide the additional option of a software-as-a-service model so that we can offer a truly comprehensive set of solutions to suit any customer’s needs.

MSDN: Have you offered your service to any new customer markets since implementing Windows Azure?

Sotnikov: Definitely. Traditionally, our customer base is made up primarily of enterprise customers. With Windows Azure, we can offer Quest OnDemand and provide IT solutions to small and midsize organizations. Unlike traditional on-premises products, Quest OnDemand requires fewer staff and no hardware, and it gives customers the ability to spread out their investment over time with a pay-as-you-go subscription model.

MSDN: What are some of the key benefits Quest Software has seen since implementing Windows Azure?

Sotnikov: The integration of Windows Azure with the Microsoft .NET Framework and the Microsoft Visual Studio development system helped our developers quickly create Quest OnDemand. Plus, we were able to reuse a significant portion of our application code from our on-premises products, which helped speed development time. The biggest benefit is that we’re able to remove some of the cost barriers for small and midsize businesses and offer them cost-efficient solutions. At the same time, that also helps us to reach a bigger IT management market. 

To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit:  www.windowsazure.com/evidence

See Quest OnDemand services at: www.quest.com/ondemand