Microsoft Windows Azure - HCL IT Services Delivers Carbon Data Management Case Study
Windows AzureCustomer Solution Case Study00IT Firm Delivers Carbon-Data Management in the Cloud, Lowers Barriers for Customers<br />OverviewCountry or Region: IndiaIndustry: Professional services—IT servicesCustomer ProfileBased in India, HCL is a global technology firm with 62,000 employees. Along with its subsidiaries, HCL had consolidated revenues of U.S. $5 billion as of March 2010. Business SituationHCL wanted to lower the cost barrier for entry so that more customers could adopt its manageCarbon application, which was traditionally an on-premises application. SolutionUsing an established framework, HCL migrated its on-premises application to the Windows Azure platform, using the Windows Azure Software Development Kit for Java Developers. BenefitsSmaller customer investment requiredShorter deployment timeSimplified development and maintenanceLower total cost of ownership“[By using] Windows Azure…our customers…don’t need to make upfront investments or spend resources maintaining anything. They use the service when they need it, and only pay for what they use.”Sanjay Kumar, ERS SEG Online Practice Head, HCLTechnology firm HCL Technologies, offers an on-premises software application, manageCarbon that helps businesses aggregate, analyze, and manage carbon emissions data. The application, which connects to customers' enterprise systems to extract key emissions data, is growing in popularity due to the increasing regulatory demands placed on businesses to report carbon emissions. HCL wanted to lower the barriers to customer adoption of the technology, reducing the need for customers to make a significant capital investment upfront and shortening the lengthy deployment time. Already familiar with cloud computing, HCL migrated manageCarbon to the Windows Azure platform. As a result, HCL lowered the investment required by customers to use manageCarbon, trimmed deployment to one-quarter of the time, simplified the development and maintenance of the application, and lowered its total cost of ownership. <br />Situation<br />HCL is a leading global technology firm that comprises two companies in India: HCL Technologies and HCL Infosystems. HCL Technologies uses its extensive global infrastructure and network of offices in 26 countries to provide multiservice delivery in key industry verticals including financial services, manufacturing, consumer services, and healthcare.<br />HCL focuses on outsourcing that emphasizes innovation and value creation. The company offers an integrated portfolio of services that includes software-led IT solutions, remote infrastructure management, engineering services, and research and development. <br />To help customers meet regulatory and corporate responsibility objectives, HCL also offers environmental sustainability services, such as its Java-based manageCarbon application, which helps enterprises measure and account for their carbon footprint. The software application is based on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, the widely-accepted international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. HCL currently offers an on-premises version of manageCarbon.<br />“By running manageCarbon on Windows Azure, our customers can be up and running in one-quarter of the time that it took with an on-premises model.”Rajesh Babu Suraparaju, Product Manager, HCL<br />Typically, carbon emissions activity data resides in multiple systems across a customer's enterprise. To provide corporate-wide carbon accounting, the on-premises version of manageCarbon has several mechanisms for working with these data sources to collect emissions data. The manageCarbon application collects much of the emissions activity data in batch mode through the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) application programming interface (API) to the data sources. HCL also provides a web service connection to enable enterprise systems to push additional emissions activity data to manageCarbon. A manual data entry mode is also available with manageCarbon, so that operators can enter emissions activity data directly. <br />As companies strive to comply with environmental laws and become more sensitive to ecological concerns, HCL expects that the adoption of carbon accounting tools in general will increase rapidly over the next five years. As an early player in this niche market, HCL wants to continue to be a market leader in carbon accounting. It has therefore sought ways to make manageCarbon more attractive to a greater number of customers. <br />Already familiar with cloud computing, HCL wanted to develop a cloud version of its manageCarbon application to increase its appeal to customers. Specifically, it wanted to reduce the capital investment required by customers to run manageCarbon on-premises, and thereby lower the barrier for customers to purchase the application. At the same time, HCL wanted to reduce the level of customer IT maintenance required to manage the application, a cost that is incurred with any on-premises software application. <br />In addition, HCL saw an opportunity to decrease the time it takes to set up and deploy manageCarbon. With the on-premises version, it takes customers up to eight weeks to set up infrastructure, set up manageCarbon, and configure the connections to various data sources. HCL wanted to reduce that setup time by using a cloud computing model. <br />Solution<br />HCL decided to implement a cloud version of its manageCarbon application using the Windows Azure platform. The Windows Azure platform, which is hosted in Microsoft data centers, includes Windows Azure as its development, service hosting, and service management environment. The company was already familiar with Windows Azure, because it had assigned a dedicated team to find ways to help customers take advantage of the cloud computing platform. “We use Windows Azure because it is the best cloud computing platform to help empower customers in their business—and that’s what we’re all about,” says Sanjay Kumar, Online Practice Lead at HCL. <br />Figure 1. – The manageCarbon application connects to customers’ enterprise systems to help them collect, analyze, and manage carbon emissions data.<br />Framework Built to Implement Windows Azure<br />HCL developed a core internal framework, Migration++, to help customers migrate smoothly from a traditional data center to Windows Azure, and then have customers effectively manage their online applications on Windows Azure. Migration++ provides a rich set of processes and tools, along with an established framework with three key loosely interconnected modules: application assessment, migration and execution, and management. <br /> <br />Using its Migration++ framework, HCL migrated manageCarbon to Windows Azure, where it is hosted. As more customers use manageCarbon, HCL can add additional Windows Azure web roles to quickly scale up to meet customer demand. For scalable storage, HCL uses Windows Azure Blob Storage for binary data and the Microsoft SQL Azure technology platform for its relational database needs. SQL Azure, which is based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies, enables a rich set of services for relational database, reporting, and analytics and data synchronization with mobile users, remote offices, and business partners. <br />Developers at HCL first migrated its MySQL 5.1 databases, which it uses for the on-premises version of the application, to SQL Server 2008; the HCL developers then migrated those databases from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Azure, using the same database schema and data patterns that are used with the HCL on-premises version. In the future, HCL will directly migrate its databases from MySQL to SQL Azure with capabilities not previously offered when the company initially migrated its databases. “Migrating our relational database schema to SQL Azure was a very simple, smooth process,” says Rajesh Babu Suraparaju, Product Manager at HCL. By using SQL Azure, HCL can offer its customers a multitenant environment, where each customer's data is kept separate in the public cloud.<br />“It would be incredibly tedious to upgrade every customer whenever we add new features in manageCarbon, but with Windows Azure, we can refresh manageCarbon at a central location and every customer can take advantage and reap the benefits of new features.”Sanjay Kumar, Online Practice Lead, HCL<br />Emissions Data Collected Across Network Boundaries<br />HCL used the Windows Azure Software Development Kit (SDK) for Java Developers with Windows Azure platform AppFabric Service Bus to help securely collect emissions activity data across network boundaries. “When manageCarbon is deployed in the cloud, the challenge is how to collect emissions data from enterprise systems that are on-premises and behind a firewall,” explains Kumar. “With the functionality of Service Bus within Windows Azure, we have a solution to that challenge.” <br />HCL used Service Bus to connect to customers’ on-premises data sources using web services plus a local component to replace the direct MySQL Connector/J—a native Java driver that converts JDBC calls used by the MySQL database—that the on-premises version of manageCarbon uses. It installs the local component, an enterprise data connector, for each on-premises data source, to extract the required emissions activity data when triggered through a web service request from manageCarbon. <br />For identity management, HCL implemented the Windows Azure platform AppFabric Access Control to federate customers’ existing identity management systems, such as the Active Directory service. The rule-based authorization supplied by Access Control enables manageCarbon to respond as if the application were running locally on a customer's client computer. HCL is also implementing Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 as part of its own framework, as a way to authenticate users. “Our goal is to provide multiple ways to authenticate users, and with Active Directory Federation Services we can authenticate enterprise customers by connecting to their own Active Directory,” says Suraparaju.<br />On a periodic basis, such as quarterly or monthly, as business practices demand, customers can use manageCarbon to extract emissions data from their enterprise systems, and receive carbon emissions reports that detail their carbon emissions and provide data for carbon accounting, as required by government regulations or recommended by watch groups. <br />Benefits<br />As a result of migrating manageCarbon to the Windows Azure platform to offer a cloud-based version of the application, HCL will be able to offer customers a lower cost of entry and faster deployment time. At the same time, HCL has simplified development and maintenance by hosting and delivering its application in the cloud. By doing so, it also lowered total cost of ownership (TCO) for its customers, compared to the customer purchasing an on-premises version. <br />Smaller Customer Investment Required <br />By supporting manageCarbon on Windows Azure and Microsoft data centers, HCL relieves its customers of having to purchase server hardware or make other capital expenditures to use manageCarbon. At the same time, with the pay-as-you-go model offered by Windows Azure, customers pay only for the service that they use. This is particularly important because many organizations only pull carbon emissions data and run carbon management reports on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, rather than continuously. “One of the biggest benefits that Windows Azure offers our customers is that they don’t need to make upfront investments or spend resources maintaining anything,” explains Kumar. “They use the service when they need it, and only pay for what they use.”<br />HCL Total Cost of Ownership of Windows Azure Platform Compared to Maintaining an On-Premises InfrastructureWindows Azure Platform Cost (U.S$)On-premises Virtualized (U.S.$)Cost Savings with Windows Azure (U.S$)Percent Savings with Windows AzureWeb/worker computing$20, 235$54,486$34, 25162.9%Storage (non-relational)$2,446$2,492$461.8%Database computing, licensing, and storage$16,598$23,964$7,36630.7%AppFabric Service Bus connections$15,414$0($15,414)0.0%AppFabric Access Control transactions$1,536$0($1,536)0.0%Bandwidth$9,872$18,332$8,46046.1%IT administration and support$9,093$44,324$35,23179.5%Facilities and overhead$0$27,428$27,428100.0%Setup and delivery$46,862$4,822($42,040)-871.8%Total cost over three years$122,056$175,848$53,79230.6%<br />Shorter Deployment Time<br />With a traditional on-premises model, it took customers up to eight weeks to procure the required hardware, set up the software, and configure data source connectors. However, by using Windows Azure and readily-available enterprise data connectors, it now takes customers only two weeks from the time they sign up for manageCarbon to the time they can start using the solution, fully connected to their data sources. “By running manageCarbon on Windows Azure, our customers can be up and running in one-quarter of the time that it took with an on-premises model,” says Suraparaju. “That’s really impressive.”<br />Simplified Development and Maintenance<br />By using Windows Azure to host manageCarbon, developers at HCL can rapidly deploy new features and manage software updates to just a single instance of the application in the cloud. Instead of pushing software updates or enhancements to customers with on-premises versions of the applications, developers can simply deploy new versions to Windows Azure—and the application gets updated for all customers. “We are targeting a large customer base between June 2010 and June 2011,” explains Kumar. “Without Windows Azure, it would be incredibly tedious to upgrade every customer whenever we add new features in manageCarbon, but with Windows Azure, we can refresh manageCarbon at a central location and every customer can take advantage and reap the benefits of new features.”<br />Lower Total Cost of Ownership<br />HCL analyzed the costs associated with developing and hosting its application on Windows Azure, compared to offering an on-premises infrastructure that takes advantage of server virtualization. Over a three-year period, taking into consideration compute, storage, connections, transactions, bandwidth, support, and overhead, HCL expects to save U.S.$53,792, or 30.6 percent of its costs, by using the Windows Azure platform. <br />Software and ServicesWindows Azure PlatformWindows AzureMicrosoft SQL AzureAppFabric Access ControlAppFabric Service BusWindows Azure SDK for Java DevelopersMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioMicrosoft SQL Server 2008TechnologiesActive DirectoryActive Directory Federation ServicesThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published July 2010For More InformationFor more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.com For more information about HCL products and services, send email to email@example.com or visit the website at: www.hcl.in Additional Resources:Training: Channel9 Windows Azure Training Course Download: Windows Azure Training Kit Download: Windows Azure SDK White paper: Security Best Practices for Developing on the Windows Azure Platform Windows Azure Platform<br />The Windows Azure platform provides an excellent foundation for expanding online product and service offerings. The main components include:<br />Windows Azure. Windows Azure is the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft data centers.<br />Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies.<br />Windows Azure platform AppFabric. With Windows Azure platform AppFabric, developers can build and manage applications more easily both on-premises and in the cloud.<br />AppFabric Service Bus connects services and applications across network boundaries to help developers build distributed applications.<br />AppFabric Access Control provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services.<br />Microsoft Codename "
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.<br />To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit: <br />www.windowsazure.com <br />