As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, I connected with Ron Robbins, Product Manager, Migration Solutions, at Quest Software to learn more about how Quest uses Windows Azure to deliver its OnDemand Migration for Email solution.  Read Quest Software’s success story here. Read on to find out what he had to say.

Himanshu Kumar Singh: What solutions does Quest Software offer? 

Ron Robbins: Quest Software develops software that helps our customers manage their databases, development, infrastructure, security, and more. We sell our products and services through a direct sales force and also through partners and resellers.

HKS: What led to the creation of your OnDemand Migration for Email solution?

RR:  We saw that many of our customers, and customers of reseller partners, wanted to migrate their email messaging from both on-premises infrastructures and Google Mail to Microsoft Office 365 and were eager to use the service, but nervous about the migration. We also noted that universities were facing the same challenge when they moved email systems to the Microsoft Live@edu messaging service.

We realized that many of the email migration tools on the market were difficult to set up and use and required the deployment of an on-site server to migrate large numbers of mailboxes and many companies couldn’t afford disruption to their most mission-critical application, causing them to abandon their efforts to move email messaging to the cloud, or from one cloud provider to another.

We decided to create an email migration solution that could be delivered using the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment model so that customers could gain instantaneous access to our migration product via any web browser and start migrating users within minutes, not weeks.

HKS: Why did you choose Windows Azure for this new solution?

RR:  As a long time member of the Microsoft Partner Network, we were already using Windows Azure to deliver other Quest services under the OnDemand brand name. For migrating organizations to Microsoft Office 365, we thought running the Quest OnDemand Migration for Email in Windows Azure was a natural choice.

We knew that with Windows Azure we’d receive guaranteed uptime with the Microsoft data centers, which are often located near Office 365 data centers, and we would be using a cloud platform and provider that would be around for the long haul.

HKS:  How does OnDemand Migration for Email work?

RR: The solution migrates user data to Office 365 and Live@edu email services without requiring customers to install or maintain any software for the move. Customers simply go to the Quest OnDemand portal, log on, and enter the credentials for the messaging system that they are migrating from and the cloud platform that they are migrating to. They then select the mailboxes that they want to migrate and click “start.” The customer can monitor the migration process by viewing a web-based console that shows the progress and any problems that are encountered, with details about the migration success of individual mailboxes and even messages.

HKS:  How are you using Windows Azure for this solution?

RR:  Windows Azure compute provides on-demand processing power to run the migration scripts, and Windows Azure table storage stores customer migration data. No customer email messages are ever stored in Windows Azure to alleviate customer privacy concerns. Quest offers OnDemand Migration for Email for US$10 per migrated mailbox.

HKS:  What are some of the customer benefits of using Windows Azure?

RR:  By running our email migration solution in Windows Azure, customers of all size have access to an industry-leading migration solution with a low-cost-per-mailbox pricing model. With no software to install or servers to set up, companies can migrate their email systems to Office 365 and Live@edu quickly and affordably.

Our pay-as-you-go pricing model gives customers the flexibility to migrate all their users at once or spread the investment over time. Most small organizations can complete their migration in as little as 15 minutes.

HKS: What are some of the benefits your company has seen with Windows Azure?

RR:  By running OnDemand Migration for Email in Windows Azure, we can offer customers a scalable solution that can accommodate any number of mailboxes. We can offer our service globally and provide customers around the world quick, low-cost, highly secure migration to Office 365 and Live@edu.

Windows Azure also enables us to offer our email migration service to any size organization, from small businesses to enterprises with tens of thousands of mailboxes. Since we launched Quest OnDemand Migration for Email in September 2011, we have migrated thousands of email seats to Office 365 using OnDemand Migration for Email, many of them from Google Mail.

In addition, Windows Azure gives us levels of performance and availability that it could not deliver on its own without great cost. We don’t have to worry about keeping servers running; Microsoft takes care of that. Windows Azure is like the Internet; we know that it will always be there. 

HKS:  Has the move to Windows Azure helped your business?

RR:  With Windows Azure, our OnDemand product has global reach with customers across North America, Europe, and Asia. We can expand our markets as Microsoft expands its Windows Azure data centers. Deploying our own SaaS infrastructure worldwide would be cost-prohibitive, but with Windows Azure we can reach new markets without infrastructure concerns.

Read how others are using Windows Azure.