Microsoft Corporate Vice President Robert Wahbe delivered the opening keynote this morning at Microsoft Tech-Ed North America 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. During his talk, Wahbe outlined how the cloud is changing IT and demonstrated how Microsoft and Windows Azure are helping customers move their businesses to the cloud. One of the examples he used was Travelocity; their story is worth delving into because it illustrates the benefits a move to the cloud can create for an organization.
Founded in 1996, Travelocity is an online travel agency that connects millions of travelers with airlines, hotels, car-rental companies, and other services. In March 2010, business partners asked Travelocity to collect website metrics on customer shopping patterns. Travelocity decided to deploy the application in the cloud to avoid burdening its own data center.
Travelocity uses Windows Azure to provide compute power and storage for its business intelligence and analysis system. In doing so, it avoids burdening the capacity of its on-premises infrastructure, Thanks to cloud computing, Travelocity has fulfilled its partners’ requests for a system that collects metrics on customer interactions.
The company is also experiencing a shift in how it manages its development efforts. Because Microsoft manages the servers, configuration, and maintenance, Travelocity is able to build and deploy applications on a per-month subscription basis. It reduces costs while reaching its large customer base.
The company also benefits from the enormous scalability offered by Windows Azure, which ensures that customers from around the world can access Travelocity’s services reliably. Plus, because of a faster time-to-market and a flexible development environment, the company can experiment with new offerings and enhance the customer experience.