As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Shekar Chandrasekaran, Chief Technology Officer at Transactiv about using the Windows Azure platform to deliver its e-commerce transaction solution. Here's what he had to say:  

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

Chandrasekaran: Transactiv is a startup company that facilitates online transactions between buyers and sellers through social networking platforms. Our software enables three transaction models: business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and social commerce with affiliate model. We help make commerce easy for companies that may not have the resources to acquire, implement, and maintain existing commerce systems.

MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that Transactiv faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?

Chandrasekaran: When we set out to build Transactiv, we knew that we wanted an infrastructure that offered high levels of scalability to manage unpredictable demand. In the early stages of our vision, we considered an on-premises, Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) based architecture. However, it quickly became clear that as a small startup, we needed to avoid the cost-prohibitive capital expenses and IT management costs associated with on-premises servers.

MSDN: Can you describe the solution you built with the Windows Azure platform to address your need for cost-effective scalability?

Chandrasekaran: We developed Transactiv from the ground up for Windows Azure, after ruling out both Google Apps and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. We use Web roles and Worker roles in Windows Azure for computational processing, and we can quickly add new roles to scale up as we need to handle a growing list of customers and transactions. Transactiv uses Microsoft SQL Azure for its relational database needs and, to optimize its storage footprint, uses Blob storage in Windows Azure for product images, which it can quickly scale up without impacting relational storage. Transactiv also uses Table storage in Windows Azure to capture and store application log data and performance metrics.

Transactiv combines e-commerce and social networking, and enables customers to create catalogs of products for purchase on Facebook.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Chandrasekaran: By using Transactiv, anyone can establish a transaction-based online presence through the popular social site, Facebook. For instance, a small company can set up a Facebook page with product and pricing details and allow customers to make purchases without using complicated and costly e-commerce solutions.

MSDN: Are you offering Transactiv to any new customer segments or niche markets?

Chandrasekaran: We primarily target small and midsize businesses, but anyone can use Transactiv to facilitate online commerce transactions.

MSDN: What kinds of benefits is Transactiv realizing with Windows Azure?

Chandrasekaran: The biggest benefit is that we were able to launch Transactiv to the market with the confidence that we have a scalable infrastructure that we can quickly and cost-effectively change to meet demand. By using Windows Azure, we were able to launch our service without buying any physical server hardware and over a three-year period, we will save 54.6 percent of our costs compared to procuring, managing, and maintaining an on-premises infrastructure.

Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000008004

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