As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Miguel Campos, Chief Information Officer at Autoplaza about using Windows Azure as a storage platform for its online classified-ads website. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Tell us about Autoplaza and the services you offer.
Campos: Autoplaza is an online classified advertising company based in Mexico City, Mexico. We are premier website destination for sellers and buyers of automobiles in Mexico, including consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales.
MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that you faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?
Campos: Finding a cost-effective, scalable infrastructure to support our operations was a critical piece of our continued success. Autoplaza has an average inventory of 27,000 classified ads and we used rented servers to support our operations. However, we had to add new servers every six months-a time-consuming, costly endeavour. Even with additional servers, we had to limit the size and number of images customers could upload, and still experienced intermittent performance issues with the site.
MSDN: Can you describe the solution you built with Windows Azure to address your need for scalability and high-performance?
Campos: After evaluating several cloud providers, including Google App Engine and Amazon Simple Storage Solution, we chose Windows Azure for our storage needs. When a seller uploads an image to Autoplaza, the image itself is stored in Blob storage provided by Windows Azure, while the image metadata is stored in the Table storage service in Windows Azure. Worker roles in Windows Azure process the images and serve them up to Web roles that post the images on the website with each associated ad. We can quickly scale up and add additional Web and Worker roles, Tables, and Blobs as the site grows and storage needs increase.
The Autoplaza website uses Windows Azure for its storage platform, storing images in Blob storage and image metadata in Table storage service.
MSDN: What makes your solution unique?
Campos: By using Windows Azure, we can offer generous limits for the number of images a customer can upload with their ad. We understand that images are a key component to successful advertising for our customers and by using Windows Azure and the on-demand scalability, we increased our limits for number of images per ad from 30 to 100.
MSDN: What kinds of benefits are you realizing with Windows Azure?
Campos: Improved scalability is the key benefit for us because we anticipate that we will increase our customer base by 15 percent by the end of 2011. With Windows Azure, we can handle that increase-or more-with no problem. Plus, we've improved the performance of our website. Our website is faster by a factor of three and we have not experienced any downtime. In addition, we all but eradicated the cost to maintain and manage servers, which reduced our total cost of operations by 20 percent.
To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence