As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Sinclair Schuller, CEO at Apprenda, about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver the company's middleware solution, which helps Apprenda's customers deliver cloud applications. Here's what he had to say:

MSDN: Tell us about Apprenda and the services you offer.

Schuller: Apprenda serves independent software vendors (ISVs) in the United States and Europe that build business-to-business software applications on the Microsoft .NET Framework. Our product, SaaSGrid, is a next-generation application server built to solve the architecture, business, and operational complexities of delivering software as a service in the cloud.  

MSDN: What was the biggest challenge you faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?

Schuller: We wanted to offer customers a way to offload some of their server capacity needs to a cloud solution and integrate their cloud capacity with their on-premises capacity. We looked at other cloud providers, like Google App Engine and Salesforce.com, but those are fundamentally the wrong solutions for our target customers because they do not allow developers enough flexibility in how they build applications for the cloud.

MSDN: Can you describe the solution you are building with the Windows Azure platform?

Schuller: Our solution provides a connection to allow a seamless bridge for web service calls so that customers can host their own Windows Communication Foundations web services, but also take advantage of Windows Azure if they have spikes in their capacity needs.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Schuller: SaaSGrid is the unifying middleware for optimizing application delivery for any deployment paradigm (single-tenant instance or full single instance, multi-tenant software-as-a-service) combined with any infrastructure option (on-premises, third-party cloud, or Windows Azure). Currently, any combination of these styles and options requires a specific application architecture that locks the application to an initial design-time design. Apprenda allows developers to focus on form and function and relegates the delivery style and infrastructure choices to simple deploy-time decisions - drastically reducing application complexity while adding unheard of operational flexibility and delivery capability.

The software industry is moving to a software-as-a-service model. Embracing this change requires developers to refactor existing applications and build out new infrastructure in order to move from shipping software to delivering software. By coupling the infrastructure capabilities of Windows Azure with SaaSGrid, we will be able to offer our customers an incredibly robust, highly efficient platform at a low cost. Plus, customers can go to market with their cloud offerings in record time.


MSDN: What benefits will you see with the Windows Azure platform?

Schuller: With SaaSGrid and Windows Azure, ISVs will be able to move their existing .NET-based applications to the cloud up to 60 percent faster and with 80 percent less new code than developing from the ground up. Customers do not have to invest significant capital and attain lower application delivery costs while ensuring application responsiveness. At the same time, with Windows Azure, customers will be able to plan an infrastructure around baseline average capacity-rather than building around peak compute-intensive loads-and offset peak loads with Windows Azure. This will help our customers reduce their overall IT infrastructure footprint by as much as 70 percent.

For more information about Apprenda, visit:  http://apprenda.com

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