Case Study | DreamFactory Software

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  • 1. Executive Case Study Web Application Publisher Combines Data Across Clouds “Microsoft will undoubtedly be a major player in enterprise cloud computing, and Windows Azure opens up opportunities for us that we wouldn‟t have with other cloud platforms.” Eric Rubin, Chief Executive Officer, DreamFactory SoftwareCustomer: DreamFactory Software During 25 years in the software business, Eric Rubin and Bill Appleton have seenCountry or Region: United States organizations struggle to implement big, expensive, packaged software applications.Industry: Professional services—Software Then, when software as a service emerged as a deployment option in the 1990s, they saw that it provided deployment and maintenance efficiencies, but companies oftenCustomer Overview ended up with a one-size-fits-all solution that failed to meet their specific needs.DreamFactory is a leading publisher of rich Webapplications in the cloud, which are accessed via In 2005, as “cloud computing”—running applications in hosted data centers—the Internet. Combining the agility of on-demand progressed, Rubin and Appleton joined forces to launch DreamFactory Software.delivery with the performance of desktop applica- The company‟s aim is to combine the agility of on-demand application delivery withtions, the DreamFactory Suite delivers enterprise- the performance and customization of on-premises applications. DreamFactoryclass project, document, and data collaboration created a suite of eight workgroup productivity tools encompassing enterprise-gradeapplications to more than 4,000 businesses. project, document, and data collaboration capabilities, which are delivered over theDreamFactory is based in Campbell, California. Internet. The tools integrate easily with popular online software such as Salesforce.com customer relationship management and the Intuit QuickBase database. Today, moreBusiness Results than 4,000 businesses use DreamFactory tools in combination with business data Ability to merge data from different cloud-based residing in Amazon Web Services, Intuit Workplace, Cisco Webex Connect, and data centers Force.com. Rapid time-to-market for initial migration and ongoing upgrades Workhorse Cloud Platform Performance improvement of up to 30 percent When customers started asking DreamFactory if it would support the Windows Azure versus other clouds platform, Chief Executive Officer Rubin and Chief Technology Officer Appleton imme- Gateway to growth opportunities diately put it in their strategic plan. “We knew that Microsoft would be a major cloud provider and that customers would want to run their applications on Windows AzureProfile and be able to interoperate with other clouds,” Rubin says. “Our strategy is to be able Chief Technology Officer to run on and interoperate with all of the critical cloud platforms, so we immediately moved to support Windows Azure.” One thing that Rubin and Appleton liked about Windows Azure was its breadth, providing operating system, development, storage, and service management capabilities. “It‟s not just a place to store data but a powerful development and processing platform,” Rubin says. “Microsoft will undoubtedly be a major player in enterprise cloud computing, and Windows Azure opens up opportunities for us in corporate IT that we wouldn‟t have with other cloud platforms.” Adds Appleton, “Windows Azure is a powerful combination of enterprise-grade cloud computing capabilities and commodity pricing. Plus, the performance is great. We initially thought that the role of a backbone workhorse platform could be met by Amazon alone. But we found that the Windows Azure platform, with its fully relational
  • 2. Executive Case Study database, offers us the most complete development and deployment infrastructure.” Data Merged Between Clouds Companies can run DreamFactory tools on Windows Azure and store data in Microsoft SQL Azure. But to Rubin and Appleton, the real power comes from combining the DreamFactory tools with data from other cloud databases. For example, within a“Windows Azure was DreamFactory workspace running on Windows Azure, a company might pull sales data from Force.com and financial data from Intuit Workplace and combine it with corpo-built from the ground up rate data in SQL Azure. Moreover, customers can collaborate on related documents and manage structured projects inside workspaces in Windows Azure.with interoperability inmind. Developers can “Windows Azure was built from the ground up with interoperability in mind,” Appleton says. “Developers can use just about any language or development tool to build theiruse just about any application, run it on Windows Azure, and consume data from any other cloud or on- premises platform. Using DreamFactory tools, users can then drag, drop, and connectlanguage or applications and data between clouds,” Appleton says. “We bring a new level of inter-development tool to operability to cloud computing.”build their application, Rapid Time-to-Market DreamFactory was able to migrate its tools to Windows Azure in less than four weeks.run it on Windows Azure, “Not only was the time-to-market significant, but we also had much richer develop-and consume data from ment capabilities than other cloud platforms provide,” Appleton says. “The BLOB Storage service was very familiar, and the Table service was very complete.” Theany other cloud or on Windows Azure BLOB (Binary Large Object) Storage service provides unstructured data storage, and the Table service provides structured data storage.on-premises platform.” Bill Appleton, Chief Technology Officer, “Development speed is very important to us to support our business model,” Rubin DreamFactory Software says. “We continuously improve our products based on customer feedback, and time- to-market is critical in making this model work. The sophisticated development ser- vices in Windows Azure enable us to deliver faster and widen the gap between us and the competition.” Great Performance Plus Growth Opportunities Not only can DreamFactory quickly enhance its tools on Windows Azure, but it also can make them run faster. “The performance of Windows Azure is impressive,” Appleton says. “We benefit from as much as a 30 percent performance increase over similar cloud computing offerings. This enables us to scale applications for enterprise cus- tomers without concerns about performance.” For DreamFactory, Windows Azure provides big growth opportunities. “The Windows operating system offers the largest potential deployment platform for on-premises applications, and Windows Azure offers the same potential in cloud environments,” Rubin says. “With Microsoft, we have an opportunity to access a whole new universe of customers, especially as more corporate IT staffs move to cloud computing. Microsoft is the first cloud service available for building applications of any type with strong enough features for enterprise applications. We also believe that Microsoft has the ability to bring IT departments to the cloud en masse and that this will be beneficial to providers on any cloud.” Please continue reading for profile perspectives.
  • 3. Chief Technology Officer Profile How We Blend Applications from Different Clouds An application developed with the compression and coding upload and DreamFactory Interactive Development download also reduces the cost of Internet Environment can run natively on multiple transactions. Other table services do not cloud platforms using a single code base. have one or more of these features, and Currently supported deployment environ- that makes it difficult to work with them in ments include Windows Azure, Force.com, an enterprise context.” Intuit Workplace, Amazon Web Services, and Cisco WebEx Connect. Another benefit provided by Windows Azure is the pay-as-you-go pricing model, “We have a „blend‟ software layer that which enables customers to use processing enables the interoperation between dif- and storage capacity on an as-needed basis. ferent cloud platforms,” says Bill Appleton, They can easily scale up during peak periods Chief Technology Officer for DreamFactory of activity and scale down as less power orBill AppletonChief Technology Officer Software. The blend layer is a software space is needed.DreamFactory Software abstraction that blends the DreamFactory applications running in different cloud “The Windows Azure platform is the firstBill Appleton is an expert on service- platforms into a single application pro- cloud service targeted at the needs oforiented architectures, rich media gramming interface (API). enterprise IT departments,” Appleton states.authoring tools, and user interface “The table sizes, BLOB limits, partitioningdevelopment. He has written more than From the user perspective, running a capability, and performance are great fortwo dozen commercial software publica- DreamFactory application is similar to the cost profile.”tions and has worked closely with Disney, embedding an animation or a movie fileParamount, Viacom, and Bandai to build on a Web page. There is a client player that Business Resultscreative vehicles for content development. “plays” the application content. The player DreamFactory took less than a month to implements a security sandbox that protects migrate its applications to Windows“The Windows Azure platform is the first local files and other private network assets. Azure.cloud service targeted at the needs of The player is carefully written to minimize BLOB Storage service was familiar, andenterprise IT departments. The table sizes, contact with the local machine, but also to Table service placed no limits on tableBLOB limits, partitioning capability, and allow access to certain external Web-based field size.performance are great for the cost profile.” assets or local desktop files under user con- Support for Gzip compression and coding trol. DreamFactory does not host any user upload/download reduces cost of Internet data; rather, all communication is conducted transactions for customers. directly through an encrypted Secure Pay-as-you-go pricing model enables Sockets Layer (SSL) pipeline with Windows customers to purchase processing and Azure or other cloud platforms, where data storage as needed. is stored. Migrating DreamFactory applications to the Windows Azure platform was a straightfor- ward process, according to Appleton. “It took us under a month to get DreamFactory applications running on Windows Azure,” he says. “The process went very smoothly. The BLOB Storage service was very familiar, and we liked the fact that the Table service placed no limits on table field sizes. We also had the ability to transmit updates and deletions together as a set, which helps our customers reduce the costs of Internet transactions. The support for Gzip
  • 4. For More Information Windows Azure PlatformFor more information about Microsoft The Windows Azure platform provides anproducts and services, call the Microsoft excellent foundation for expanding onlineSales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. product and service offerings. The mainIn Canada, call the Microsoft Canada components include:Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Windows Azure. Windows Azure is theCustomers in the United States and Canada development, service hosting, and servicewho are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach management environment for theMicrosoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) Windows Azure platform. Windows Azureservices at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 provides developers with on-demandUnited States and Canada, please contact compute and storage to host, scale, andyour local Microsoft subsidiary. To access manage Web applications on the Internetinformation using the World Wide Web, through Microsoft data centers.go to: Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQLwww.microsoft.com Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed databaseFor more information about DreamFactory service built on Microsoft SQL Serverproducts and services, call (650) 641-1800 2008 technologies.or visit the Web site at: Windows Azure platform AppFabric.www.dreamfactory.com With Windows Azure platform AppFabric, developers can build and manage applications more easily both on- premises and in the cloud. − AppFabric Service Bus connects services and applications across network boundaries to help developers build distributed applications. − AppFabric Access Control provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services. Microsoft "Dallas." Developers and information workers can use the new service code-named Dallas to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform. To learn more about the Windows Azure platform visit: www.windowsazure.com Software and Services Links Windows Azure Platform www.microsoft.com/windowsazure − Windows Azure − BLOB Storage − Microsoft SQL Azure − Table serviceThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published April 2010