My team know Sharpcloud well and we tend to keep an eye out for what they are up to. Hence it was great to see them at LeWeb’10 talking about the reasons they moved away from Amazon EC2 to the Windows Azure Platform.

The full interview is over on but the “best bits” (IMHO) are here with a bit of highlighting by me …

Why Azure and Silverlight?

… Our choice to remain lightly funded has exerted some very positive pressure on our stack and we believe we've chosen the right technologies so that we can immediately go to market and create revenue from our targeted user communities. Below are some of the key themes from our research community affecting our choices:

· Due to historically close and generally positive corporate relationships with Microsoft, executives felt more comfortable with Microsoft than Amazon as our cloud hoster.

· The finance teams liked the idea of a pay-per-use SaaS but hated the thought of a changing cost-plan. They all agreed that actually they'd rather pay more and have a budget-able fixed subscription model.

· Microsoft has traditionally partnered well. Commercially we also wanted to get stickier with the Microsoft partner community as customers and ideally resellers.

· Window Azure as a PaaS required us to employ fewer IT staff than the equivalent IaaS from Amazon.

· and lastly many enterprise and public sector customers are still running IE6!!!!

As a sales guy I want revenue opportunities today! We’ve been selling well since we launched in the summer and our business model is now well and truly proven, in addition we’ve also signed up a few Microsoft partners as resellers. Could we have generated the same traction on a different stack, I’d say it’s highly unlikely.


In the UK we are helping partners build applications for the Windows Azure Platform (and other technologies such as SQL Server 2008 R2) through Microsoft Platform Ready. Sign up for FREE to get access to some great benefits (more on that in a future post). It also really helps us better understand the demand out there which directly impacts how we will plan the next six months of activities around the Windows Azure Platform.