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Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Phil Calvin, CTO at Sitemasher

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Phil Calvin, CTO at Sitemasher, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver the company's Web development software…

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Phil Calvin, CTO at Sitemasher, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver the company’s Web development software platform and the benefits that Windows Azure provides. Here’s what he had to say

MSDN: What services does Sitemasher provide?

Calvin: We offer a software platform that enables service providers, Web professionals, and large organizations to build, deploy, and manage both custom and template Web sites with maximum efficiency, minimal custom coding, and lower server hardware and hosting costs.

MSDN: What was the biggest challenge your company faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?

Calvin: We initially supported the Sitemasher application with servers in our own data centers, but purchase costs alone topped U.S.$100,000. At the same time, if an enterprise customer wanted to launch thousands of Web sites, we had to ask for significant upfront capital for the required infrastructure.

MSDN: Can you describe the solution you built with Windows Azure to help lower costs for both Sitemasher and your customers?

Calvin: We knew that moving to the cloud was the easiest and most cost-effective way to deliver Sitemasher. Using our existing expertise with the Microsoft Visual Studio development system, we ported our Microsoft SQL Server database schema to SQL Azure and migrated 1 million lines of Microsoft Visual C# code to Windows Azure in just one week. And, we saw that it was possible to achieve the same low latency and best possible performance that we had achieved in our own architecture, with Windows Azure.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Calvin: A key differentiator for Sitemasher is the ability to provide multiple work environments to match a wide range of technical skills. With Sitemasher running on Windows Azure, users have the same options and flexibility as they did in the original environment. Whether a user is updating a blog, or a designer is creating a new site design, or a developer is adding custom data-driven functionality-in just one click, any of these changes can go live on Windows Azure.

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

Calvin: We’re going to eliminate the need for costly maintenance when we close our data centers. Now, we can better predict our expenditures, which helps us price our services more accurately. We can dynamically scale to meet the most rigorous of customer needs, instead of using best-guess estimates, and we don’t have to ask customers to outlay a huge amount of capital up front. Also, by eliminating the need to maintain a data center, and instead rely on data centers hosted by Microsoft, we can refocus 20 percent of our efforts to development. That’s a huge gain.

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