As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Martin Szugat, Chief Product Officer at SnipClip, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver its social-media application and the benefits that Windows Azure provides. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Tell us about SnipClip and the services you offer.
Szugat: SnipClip is a social-collecting game on Facebook that enables people to collect short video clips of their favorite brand, artist, or movie by clipping them into a digital collector's album. People can trade and gift duplicate collectibles with friends and compete with other fans to complete a collection and win prizes. Companies with consumer focus and media brands use SnipClip to activate and engage their Facebook fans, to increase their fans' purchasing intent, and to promote or monetize their content.
MSDN: What was the biggest challenge SnipClip faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?
Szugat: Several of our customers and partners wanted SnipClip to guarantee high availability and scalability for the application. Specifically, customers and partners wanted to trust that we could scale from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of users within hours if demand dictated it. We couldn't guarantee that kind of scalability with a physical server infrastructure at an even remotely reasonable cost-a cloud solution was the only viable option.
MSDN: Can you describe the solution you built with Windows Azure to help address your need for a scalable and highly available Web application?
Szugat: To start, SnipClip built a Web service based on the Windows Communication Foundation programming model. Then, we migrated that Web service to a Web role in Windows Azure, which provides us with quick computing scalability to handle demand. This step took us only two hours. The service uses Microsoft SQL Azure to store relational data, which has high availability and built-in fault tolerance. SnipClip takes advantage of Blob storage in Windows Azure to store image files.
MSDN: What makes your solution unique?
Szugat: SnipClip is the first platform that enables companies to create fully branded social-collecting campaigns that help them to reach their social-networking marketing goals. Companies can use almost any type of content to create virtual collectibles and gifts, and with Windows Azure, those companies do not have to make significant upfront investments in infrastructure.
MSDN: Have you offered your service to any new customer markets since implementing SnipClip on Windows Azure?
Szugat: Yes, absolutely. Windows Azure gives SnipClip the ability to address large, international companies whose biggest concern is the scalability of our solution and being able to handle a potentially massive user load.
MSDN: What are some of the key benefits SnipClip has seen as a result of using Windows Azure?
Szugat: Knowing that we are hosting SnipClip in Microsoft data centers gives customers confidence in our solution-they trust that we can scale up compute processing and storage capacity to meet the highest load demands. In addition, we can do this without investing in server infrastructure, and without requiring our customers to do the same, and we only pay for what we use with Windows Azure.
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Visit SnipClip at: www.snipclip.com