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Take the Windows Azure and DNN challenge, build a website in minutes!

Editor's Note: This post comes from Neeti Gupta -- Senior Business Strategist, Developer Platform Evangelism. I remember the time when building a simple website took several months. Several of…

Editor’s Note: This post comes from Neeti Gupta — Senior Business Strategist, Developer Platform Evangelism.

I remember the time when building a simple website took several months. Several of you in the .NET developer and design community used the DNN (formerly known as DotNetNuke) platform in the past to quickly and effectively build websites.

DNN has grown as a product and as a company and now offers their Evoq suite of business applications as a Cloud Service, built on Windows Azure. DNN has created a product that gives you the power to quickly create a website with extensive features and easy extensibility.

It was seen as a revolution when you could build a website just by downloading the DNN Platform, installing the software and customizing your site. Now, ten years later, it’s a simple matter of ordering a site (from the cloud) and having it provisioned in an instant, with features that were a pipedream back when it all started. 

Want to try it out? Register for a free, 14-day trial of Evoq Content.

Recently, I sat down with Navin Nagiah, CEO of DNN Corp, at their headquarters in San Mateo, California. I asked Navin a few questions about their announcements and here’s what he had to say.

Q: Navin, what product are you launching today?

A: We provide solutions that help customers manage both content and communities online.  Our solution suite is called Evoq.  We provide everything needed to build sites, create communities and make every aspect of a business’ online presence more valuable.  Evoq includes two applications: Evoq Content, a leading Content Management System (CMS) and Evoq Social, a social community solution. To date, our solutions were sold in an on-premise model, which means that our clients would install and configure our solutions on their infrastructure. Today, we’re announcing Evoq Cloud, which is powered by Windows Azure. While we continue to provide our on-premise option, clients can now run their Evoq Suite solutions on Evoq Cloud and get all of the benefits that Windows Azure has to offer. 

Q: What reasons would a customer choose Evoq Cloud over your on-premise option?

A: Clients on Evoq Cloud do not need to concern themselves with software installation or server hosting. They don’t need to worry about uptime, reliability, security or backups. In addition, as their usage grows in volume and in geographic reach, they don’t have to worry about scaling their infrastructure. In short, customers are left to focus less on infrastructure and more on strategy, planning and business objectives.

Q: How did you build it?

A: We utilized a collection of Windows Azure services to create an easy-to-use management console for Evoq Cloud customers. Each customer instance is a connection between an Azure Storage Account, a SQL Database and multiple Cloud Services instances. We make use of Azure Table Storage, Message Queues and Web Worker roles to handle provisioning and maintenance of customer sites. Windows Azure Cloud Services made our installation process quite efficient: once we defined a package, our application can be deployed over and over without repeating the installation process. 

Q: What are some of the customer responses so far?

A: While we’re officially launching Evoq Cloud today, we ran a beta program, which just concluded in June 2013. We had over 100 beta customers on Evoq Cloud and they loved its robustness, extra features and ease of use. In addition, we’ve demonstrated the offering to selected clients and partners and they responded with great excitement. We’ve already spun up our first set of production customers, who couldn’t wait for the product to officially launch, and it is now publicly available to the general market.

Q: Why should customers pay attention?

A: Because they get the reliability, performance, security and scalability that comes with Windows Azure. In addition, Evoq Cloud provides a great solution for version management, a challenge I see today with some of our clients. We’re continually enhancing our Evoq Suite and provide new product releases several times per year. Evoq Cloud offers convenient release update tools, including release staging and automatic updates.

Q: How can partners get engaged with DNN?

A: We use valued partners to help round out our portfolio of services and solutions. Our partners provide consulting, custom development, system integration, and migration services. I’d encourage interested parties to read further about our partner program on our web site.

Q: What can .NET developers do to work with DNN cloud solutions?

A: The DNN Platform is easily extended using any .NET language. Developers can utilize our platform to build a customized application, or they can add a small amount of .NET code to make minor additions to an existing DNN site. What the DNN Platform brings is a complete solution to most of the common needs for Content and Social sites, allowing developers to focus their efforts on more intricate or custom requirements.

This saves huge amounts of time by extending an already-developed and tested application. Being available on Azure adds simplicity to the delivery of the software – all without a decrease in the flexibility and extensibility of the platform. It all adds up to a powerful platform, instantly delivered. A .NET developer can skip the tasks of configuration and website installation and get straight to the important task of building cool new features.

To learn more, I invite you to visit DNN’s web site, https://dnnsoftware.com. Additionally, Navin would love to hear your feedback: Navin.Nagiah@dnncorp.com