Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Steve Orenstein, Chief
Executive Officer at Connect2Field, about using the Windows Azure platform to
deliver the company's software-as-a-service application. Here's what he had to
MSDN: Tell us about Connect2Field
and the services you offer.
Orenstein: Our company's namesake,
Connect2Field, is a web-based field service and job management software
application. By using Connect2Field, businesses can manage customers, track
jobs, dispatch and schedule work to employees in the field, manage inventory, provide
quotes, and communicate easily with customers via email and short message
MSDN: What were the biggest
challenges that Connect2Field faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure
Orenstein: Maintaining server uptime was a
challenge for us-and a critical one-because any downtime for our customers can
have a negative impact on their daily operations. We also need to ensure
replication of our Microsoft SQL Server databases to give customers peace of
mind that their data is protected; however, managing that replication became a
headache for us. In addition, maintaining server hardware was very expensive
and time consuming.
MSDN: Can you describe the
solution you built with Windows Azure to address your need for high performance?
Orenstein: We migrated
our existing application, which was originally built with Microsoft ASP.NET, to
the Windows Azure platform. We are taking advantage of Microsoft SQL Azure and
its built-in replication for our relational database needs. We're also using
the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network to cache content at global data center
nodes-this helps us deliver uptime and high levels of performance that we need
for our global audience.
MSDN: What makes your solution
is the first field service software application that runs in the cloud and is available
to small and large customers. Any service business can get instant access to
the software for as little at U.S.$65 a month. Connect2Field also has an application
programming interface (API) that allows our application to connect with other
Do you offer Connect2Field to any new markets since implementing the Windows
Yes! Prior to Windows Azure, we only offered our service to customers in
Australia and New Zealand. But with Windows Azure, we have cost-effective
scalability and global data center presence through Microsoft that enables us
to offer our solution globally.
MSDN: What kinds of benefits
are you realizing with Windows Azure?
Orenstein: We have reduced the amount of
time we spend maintaining server hardware by 95 percent and, at the same time,
have eliminated the need for ongoing capital expenses for new hardware
purchases in the future. With the Content Delivery Network, we have been able
to not only ensure a global data center presence, but we've done so at a
savings of $2,500 a month-what it would have cost to use an alternative
solution, such as Akamai.
more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence
For more information on Connect2Field, visit: www.connect2field.com