The nearly true story of Geoff and the Cloud


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A fun look at how a company creating software products can begin to safely explore new technologies such as Windows Phone 7 and the Windows Azure Platform without impacting their current product portfolio.

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The nearly true story of Geoff and the Cloud

  1. 1. “Simply the bestbook I have read Thesince War andPeace – and much Nearly True Storyshorter” Mr May D.Up of Geoff and the Cloud“Winnie-the- Poohfeels like a book forchildren incomparison to thisweighty tome. Iwould highlyrecommend it.”Mrs Fik Choo Nol As told by“I am so glad I read the bard Liam Kelly,this book. The illustrated by theideas and repressed artisttechniques outlinedin it are great. In Andrew Fryer andfact it is the first edited bytime I have somebody inexpensivemanaged to keep and largely irrelevant calledoff the weight I Eric Nelsonlost!” Mr KarnFused
  2. 2. Once upon a time, in a Where exactly is this story set? There have been rumours land rather closer to home that the story is set in Reading, Berkshire. Others than most stories, there believe it to be Swindon or perhaps even Blackpool. The reality is that this is a was a handsome and story that could be played out in any village, town or strangely debonair CEO of city. We should also point out that this story is actually a successful software entirely made up – except for the bit about the ducks. company that was doing Enjoy! rather well. Geoff had built up a great business that sold line- of-business products across all sectors using a traditional licence model. The product was critical to his customers and helped them operate their business, it was the hub of their internal operations, and they had the IT department on their side. His customers were happy that the product met their needs. His staff were happy as they were benefiting from being in a growing company.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  3. 3. However, Geoff had a What is “the cloud”? The Cloud comes in many concern. He was struggling guises – but it is primarily about where and how IT to find a way to grow his systems are provisioned and operated and how business in a saturated well they can react to the needs of a business. The market. ultimate goal in adopting the Cloud is to allow IT systems to more effectively And … he was also concerned about a strange and efficiently support the rash… but exploring that further won’t really help business. There are many with this story. The good news is the rash went variations, including Public Cloud, a service provided away a week later. Anyway… by a vendor which allows IT Systems to be quickly Before he was able to solve this challenge the provisioned, deployed and world changed before him… there was a dark run on well managed Cloud looming on the horizon!!! infrastructure capable of safely handling the needs of many discrete businesses whilst avoiding incurring capital costs for the individual business. In effect the cloud vendor has hardware, networking, databases and servers which can be “instantly” provisioned to address the needs of an individual business, passing on the costs based on usage. Microsoft is a vendor providing Public Cloud – the Windows Azure Platform. Actually, if truth be told, the cloud was not that dark and Geoff went on to have a really nice afternoon feeding the ducks… What is a “strange rash”? In many cases a strange rash is nothing to be concerned about – but please do contact your doctor if you are concerned.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  4. 4. Geoff had seen the arrival of other threats in the past. The .com boom and on-line social networking didn’t touch them… that was front office and they were immune. Offshoring came and whilst they were slow to react they managed to embrace it, retain quality and cut development costs and make savings that they could pass on to their customers Even through the recent recession, their business remained strong since customers still needed their product.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  5. 5. But Geoff wondered if it Should you panic about the Cloud? The arrival of the Cloud is was going to be different changing the relationship between “Product this time. Authors” and their customers. The changes are many, sometimes Geoff returned home to have a very sleepless subtle and sometime very night. His mind was filled with questions and very significant. However overall this represents a few answers. great opportunity to improve the relationship Would the Cloud change the world so much and between “Product more quickly than they could react? Authors” and their customers. An early Would new more agile competition emerge with adopter of the Cloud is new business models? likely to increase its ability to compete effectively for What if these competitors’ products offered business. This is why equivalent features but 50% cheaper? Microsoft is embracing the Cloud for its own products Could new competitors provision solutions in as well as providing a hours rather than the weeks and months it took Public Cloud to help its partners and customers Geoff and his team to make a product available to benefit. users? Could these companies provide smaller How much sleep do departmental solutions and scale to meet the you need to stay customers’ needs fully over time? strangely debonair? What if they sold to the business without involving My Nana would say 8 IT – would Geoff even know if it was happening in hours and she was a very wise (and strangely his current customers? enough, quite debonair) Would these new competitors be able to innovate person  and win customers that Geoff had come to rely on? More importantly, if Geoff kept having sleepless nights, would he remain handsome and strangely debonair?Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  6. 6. The next day Geoff woke with renewed enthusiasm and started to think about how cloud would enable him to do things differently. There were several options. At first he considered how if he remodelled his most profitable products, he could continue to be successful but that would take time and he didn’t really understand what it would cost to run this product on cloud or to remodel his entire business to account for subscription pricing. It made Geoff tired just thinking about it! He began to worry if all this would lead to wrinkles which would negatively affect his debonairness… He needed a way to quickly gain experience with a cloud based product… he still had loyal customers but he needed to show them that his company would offer them value from cloud over time. He needed a way to secure these customers for the long term and win new customers.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  7. 7. Geoff had a brilliant idea. What is Windows Phone 7? He would find a way to Windows Phone 7 is the latest operating system from Microsoft for mobile reach the customers of his phones, released in late 2010. It delivers a customers… the revolutionary and compelling user experience thanks to great design and consumers! highly productive development tools and languages. If a He could create an application for Windows Phone development team can 7 that would be so compelling that all of these write solutions using the consumers would be rushing to install the .NET Framework then they can write solutions for application. Windows Phone 7. By creating this application he could help his Many phone manufactures customers save operational costs. have created devices that use Windows Phone 7 and The consumers would become self-sufficient; there are already over they’d be able to do what they wanted when they 14,000 applications wanted and would be happier. available for these devices in the United Kingdom. Geoff’s customers would be compelled to continue Getting started: using their products as their consumers had gb/home/getting_started become dependent on the application. Prospective new customers would see the impact Geoff’s product was having on their industry and would come knocking on his door.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  8. 8. He only had one snag… What is the Windows Azure He knew the IT department locked down external Platform? access to internal data and systems. Now he had an answer to that too. The Windows Azure Platform contains three Cloud! primary technologies He could export the data from his current which can be used individually or together to product to the Windows Azure Platform, build solutions which run Microsoft’s cloud product. This would kill two in the Cloud. For the first time you are able to run birds with one stone. your code and store your data in Microsoft’s datacenters and let Microsoft take on some of the responsibility for keeping your solution running great and able to respond to the changing demands of business. Solutions can either run entirely on the Windows Azure Platform or as a hybrid, with some of the solution running on- premise or elsewhere on the Internet. The three key technologies are Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure Platform AppFabric. Getting started: Does Microsoft condone the killing of two birds with one stone? Killing birds, be that two or another whole number, be that with a stone or an alternative missile, is not condoned in any way.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  9. 9. Eureka! Geoff would have Is there guidance on the business impact a solution that would of adopting the Cloud for the differentiate his company provision of Software Products? in the market. There are many useful He could say they were a cloud company and that resources to help you prepare including a recent they were serious about offering cloud solutions. series of webcasts. Yet he could continue selling licenses for his Watch the webcasts: current products so it needn’t have a big impact nesswebcasts on his current business. He could slowly understand what it means to run What is the best and operate a cloud solution. approach to fixing a This would fix everything. leak in a shed? Well, almost everything. The leak in his shed would There are many temporary need to wait for another day. fixes but ultimately new roofing felt is likely to be the best option.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  10. 10. Geoff started on this What is the best way to connect to Microsoft in the immediately. United Kingdom to get technical help? He got the right team together and spoke to Microsoft to get the technical help and guidance A great first step is to follow and connect with he needed. the team responsible for this booklet and who work at a technical level with software product authors in the UK who are adopting new technologies such as the Windows Azure Platform. They have a blog, an active LinkedIn group and more. Connect at: What is Silverlight? Silverlight is the primary technology for building great applications for Geoff brings together his team for the SaaSYard Challenge Windows Phone 7. It can also be used to build His technical staff could create the application desktop applications and quickly because Windows Phone 7 development to offer rich functionality and user experiences used technologies his team were already familiar inside web browsers such with – Visual Studio and Silverlight. as Internet Explorer. He’d want it to be “beautiful” so he would need Read more: some help with the user interface design but he could easily bring in a design agency with the right Can developers skills and experience. create beautiful He involved his customers from the start and they user interfaces? loved the simplicity of being able to tray the early versions without needing to involve their own IT Based on experience of over 20 years, probably department. not. Instead engage a designer with Silverlight Geoff rolled out this product and started his experience. company’s journey to the cloud. Sure there wereBrought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  11. 11. problems but these were overcome in a controllable manner that didn’t put his business at risk. Geoff was feeling pretty smug.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  12. 12. And they all lived happily ever after. Geoff found new opportunities to exploit Windows Phone 7 and the Cloud and his company now offers a range of phone solutions for many different types of companies. They have started to embrace social media solutions and even have products in the pipeline that use Xbox 360. Geoff’s company is stronger than ever with more markets, better customer loyalty and has diversified into other business lines. As well as being handsome and strangely debonair, Geoff was also very generous. He shared the success with his staff who each got a shiny new Windows Phone 7 device and use of the new company jet on weekends. Geoff is also enjoying the success and is currently taking some time off with his family in Australia after the opening of his new AsiaPac office… Geoff spots another happy user of his Windows Phone 7 application at the airport on the way to Australia. He grinned and wondered if his grin enhanced his strangely debonair features.Brought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |
  13. 13. Epilogue What is a Slate Device? A Slate Device is a 12 months later Geoff, the handsome and strangely computer which conforms debonair CEO of a successful software company, to a specific form factor. A typical configuration is a was holidaying near a slate quarry in Wales when he highly portable and touch had another Eureka moment. But that story is for enabled PC running another day… Microsoft Windows 7 which does not have or require a physical keyboard. In many ways it The End (or possibly the resembles a 19th century writing slate – hence the beginning) name. Many hardware vendors are delivering Slate Devices today using Windows 7 and Microsoft continues to invest in this area building on the long term success of the Tablet PC form factor first introduced by Microsoft in 2000. A developer experienced in .NET can easily build a solution which takes advantage of touch inside Windows 7. How do I give feedback on this story? Thank you for reading this far. We are really keen to get your feedback on this booklet. Was it useful? How could we improve it? What topics would you like to see us cover in the future? Tell us on our LinkedIn group: http://bit.luy/ukisvdevgroupBrought to you by the Microsoft UK Developer and Platform Evangelism Team |