That is what sailors do that utilize the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's automated alerting system for fishing vessels in the United Kingdom.

This is a location-based service infrastructure, code-named GeoPoint, that transmits position data to a centralized tracking and alerting system. It then uses GeoPoint to build MOB Guardian, a search-and-rescue application for fishing vessels (MOB stands for "man overboard").

This was originaly implementd as an on-premisse solution. Their original infrastructure could handle approximately 10,000 boats, but they wanted to offer MOB Guardian to the 500,000 leisure craft in the U.K. and the millions of marine users worldwide. However, as a small company, they would find it hard to accommodate the massive infrastructure that would be required to offer MOB Guardian more broadly.

So they migrated their existing application to Windows Azure very quickly. Now, instead of passing emergency messages by satellite to physical servers, messages are transferred by satellite using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and delivered to a number of message queues. Multiple service instances read from the queues, process the messages, and store the data using Table storage in Windows Azure. Emergency alarms are then relayed through the AppFabric Service Bus to the end-user monitoring application in the search-and-rescue operations center.

They also used the AppFabric Service Bus to connect cloud-based GeoPoint to on-premises databases without exposing the data to the public Internet.

This is a truly amazing and life-saving application of Windows Azure. Read more here

Bill Zack

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