As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Andy Lapin, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Kelley Blue Book about using the Windows Azure platform to create the company's premier Web site and the benefits that Windows Azure provides. Find out what he had to say:

MSDN: What services does Kelley Blue Book provide?

[Kelley Blue Book]: Kelley Blue Book is an automotive information and value exchange service that gives consumers, automotive dealers, government, and companies in the finance and insurance industries information they need to facilitate vehicle transactions.

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

[Kelley Blue Book]: Our Web site, www.kbb.com, which is built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, has more than 14 million visitors each month. To support traffic, we have two physical data centers where we rent server space. We can handle peak traffic, but we were also paying for underutilized computing resources during non-peak periods. Plus, we need the ability to scale up quickly. For example, when "Cash for Clunkers" was introduced, it was time-consuming for us to manage the physical servers.

MSDN: Describe the solution you built with Windows Azure to help you scale up quickly and cost-effectively?

[Kelley Blue Book]: Because our developers are familiar with .NET-based code, they were able to essentially migrate our site to the Windows Azure platform. We moved all 27 of our Web servers and nine instances of Microsoft SQL Server data management software to the cloud. We're also using Windows Azure Blob Storage and Windows Azure Tables to ensure data persistence. 

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

[Kelley Blue Book]: Now that www.kbb.com runs in the cloud, we're able to quickly deploy new services. Instead of worrying about the efficiency of the Web site or the risk involved with deploying physical servers, we can rely on Windows Azure and hosting by Microsoft. We can now focus on delivering new features to customers.

MSDN: What are the key benefits Kelley Blue Book has seen as a result of implementing Windows Azure?

[Kelley Blue Book]: Cost savings is a huge benefit. With the pay-per-use model, we're able to save U.S.$100,000 in data center and hosting costs annually-it's less expensive than just the power costs of our failover data center. Plus, we were able to redeploy 36 decommissioned servers to support other products. We're also able to reduce our capital expenditures by avoiding costly hardware purchases each time we add services, while maintaining tremendous flexibility to scale up quickly when we need it.  

Read the full story at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000005874

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