Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Martin Svensson, CEO
at Sagastream, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver its online video
platform. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Tell us about Sagastream
and the services you offer.
Svensson: Sagastream is a new online video startup company based in Gothenburg, Sweden.
We've developed a flexible online video platform-ensity-that includes an easy-to-use tool set that companies
can use to
successfully upload, manage, and publish interactive online video. With ensity,
users can create interactive videos for branding, selling, marketing, and
product demonstration, to name just a few examples. Every aspect of the
platform, including streaming, encoding, and service hosting, is cloud-based,
which helps make our services globally accessible and scalable. The solution is
still in closed beta release, but we're doing a phased rollout during the rest
MSDN: Previously, you used
Amazon EC2. Can you tell us about your experiences with Amazon EC2 and why you
decided to switch to the Windows Azure platform?
Svensson: When we originally used Amazon
EC2, we were looking to address a few issues: scalability, manageability, and
reducing heavy investments in server infrastructure. With Amazon EC2, we reduced
our infrastructural costs, but there was still a lot to manage and we had to
implement the scaling logic ourselves, including setting up servers for load
balance. Whereas Amazon EC2 offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), the Windows
Azure platform offers a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that is better suited for
our needs. With Window Azure, we don't have to worry about managing the
infrastructure or setting up virtual machines for scalability.
MSDN: Can you describe the
solution you built with the Windows Azure platform?
Svensson: Instead of building every
component of our platform from scratch, we rely on industry leaders in fields
such as encoding and streaming, and we pull everything together with our
service-we focus on building the "brain" that controls everything. With video management,
server loads are very high, so we need that brain to be smart. That's where the
Windows Azure platform comes in. We use Windows Azure for our computational
processing needs, either directly or indirectly on client computers through the
application programming interfaces (APIs) hosted on Windows Azure. We use
Windows Azure Blob storage for files, Windows Azure Table storage for log
files, and Microsoft SQL Azure for our relational data needs.
MSDN: What makes your solution
Svensson: The APIs allow
third-party add-ons to easily integrate with ensity, giving customers a single user
interface that works with all their add-ons. This feature is unique to ensity
and key for accomplishing the otherwise impossible task of making an online video
platform that is both easy to use and flexible.
MSDN: What benefits have you
seen since implementing the Windows Azure platform?
Svensson: Cloud computing in general is a
great solution, and Window Azure is the best option for us because it gives us
unmatched scaling capabilities without compromising functionality-and at a
lower cost. In fact, by migrating to Windows Azure, we've been able to cut our
hosting costs in half. Migrating from Amazon EC2 to Windows Azure was easy
because we were already familiar with the development environment. We don't
have to worry about managing infrastructure and can just focus on what we do
best-building our application.
more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit:
ensity at: www.ensity.net