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Windows Azure Platform                                             Customer Solution Case Study                           ...
Situation                                        old-fashioned approach of adding more“A massive selling point            ...
“Because our test, UserAcceptance Testing(UAT), and liveenvironments are all inthe cloud, we know we                     c...
Studio and .NET Framework tools with             In addition, Tradefacilitate no longer has to                            ...
For More Information                                  developers. That’s key to our success       Windows Azure PlatformFo...
service DataMarket to easily discover,    purchase, and manage premium data    subscriptions in the Windows Azure    platf...
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Tradefacilitate reduces deployment time by 97% with Cloud-based solution

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By moving to the Windows Azure platform, global trade provider Tradefacilitate has quickly scaled its application to keep up with global demand - at lesser cost than adding its own servers.

“We don’t have to deal with the lead time required to buy equipment, and get it configured and up-and-running. We can instantly add extra capability - just like turning on a tap,” shares Derek Hardiman, Chief Technology Officer, Tradefacilitate.

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Tradefacilitate reduces deployment time by 97% with Cloud-based solution

  1. 1. Windows Azure Platform Customer Solution Case Study Global Trade Provider Reduces Deployment Time by 97 Percent with Cloud-Based SolutionOverview “Windows Azure puts you back in the driver’s seat.Country or Region: IrelandIndustry: Transportation and logistics You’re able to control your costs, and experiment at very little expense. And you’re able to leverage all ofCustomer ProfileEstablished in 2006, Tradefacilitate helps your Microsoft toolset experience.”importers and exporters provide required Derek Hardiman, Chief Technology Officer, Tradefacilitatetrade data to customs officials and thesupply chain through an online service As an increasing number of companies move goods globally,hosted in the cloud. governments are introducing new electronic customs systems.Business Situation Tradefacilitate, a global trade provider, wanted to quickly scaleTradefacilitate needed a way to quicklyscale its web-based solution to serve a its web-based application to serve a growing number ofgrowing number of importers and importers and exporters required to meet these evolving tradeexporters who were required to exchangepaper-free data. regulations. Rather than hosting its flagship application on its own servers, Tradefacilitate decided to move the application to aSolutionTradefacilitate decided to develop a cloud-services model based on the Windows Azure platform. Bycloud version of its flagship application doing so, Tradefacilitate reduced its deployment time by 97and host it on Windows Azure. percent. By moving to the Windows Azure platform,Benefits Tradefacilitate has quickly scaled its application to keep up with• Reduced deployment time by 97 percent global demand—at less cost than adding its own servers. It has• Improved test environment also freed developers from managing a complex and costly• Rapid scalability at less cost• Increased agility and efficiency infrastructure, while giving them the agility they need to quickly respond to changing customer needs.
  2. 2. Situation old-fashioned approach of adding more“A massive selling point Based in Dublin, Ireland, Tradefacilitate is servers and bandwidth, but that gets to be dedicated to reducing the costs associated expensive very quickly,” says Derekfor Windows Azure is with traditional, inefficient, paper-based Hardiman, Chief Technology Officer atthat it really is the only trade transactions and helping to increase Tradefacilitate. “Rather than managing a competitiveness among importers and complex infrastructure, we wanted to focusenterprise-ready, exporters globally. on our core competency, which is delivering innovative services toplatform-as-a-service As more and more companies move goods customers.”environment out there. It around the world, governments are introducing new electronic customs Solutionwas really a slam dunk systems that require companies to Tradefacilitate decided to develop a cloud exchange paper-free trade data before version of its flagship application and hostfor us because we … products are shipped. To help importers it on Windows Azure, the development,knew we could migrate and exporters comply with these service hosting, and service management requirements, Tradefacilitate developed a environment for the Windows Azurequickly.” web-based service, which it hosted on platform, which is hosted in Microsoft data physical servers running at a hosting facility centers. Tradefacilitate uses the web and Derek Hardiman, Chief Technology in Dublin. The hosted application initially worker role model within Windows Azure Officer, Tradefacilitate was sufficient, when the company’s main to effortlessly scale the application. Web role was to assist small and midsize roles serve web pages and take requests businesses with cross-border alcohol trade from users. As the number of users grows, in the European Union. Yet as demand for Tradefacilitate can seamlessly add Tradefacilitate services grew, the company additional web roles. Similarly, these web needed to quickly scale its solution to serve roles communicate via Windows Azure thousands of businesses needing to queues with backend worker roles, which exchange paper-free trade data and do the real work, such as handling manage the millions of trade documents outbound email, submitting customs necessary. filings, and interfacing with third-party systems. The number of worker roles can Because Tradefacilitate’s core service be increased, which makes it possible to interacts with government authorities, who scale the application both during peak use are the ultimate authorities on whether times and as the total number of customers goods can be moved, it was important that grows, with little effort. its solution be reliable and agile under new electronic processes in the two largest In addition to moving its web-based trading blocks in the world—the United application to the Windows Azure platform, States and the European Union. Tradefacilitate transferred its existing Microsoft SQL Server database to Microsoft Tradefacilitate also wanted a solution that SQL Azure, which offers relational database enabled it to concentrate on its core services in the cloud. The company uses business rather than on managing a Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus to complex infrastructure. “We considered the retrieve order and invoice information from
  3. 3. “Because our test, UserAcceptance Testing(UAT), and liveenvironments are all inthe cloud, we know we customers’ on-premises enterprise effective because developers were able tocan move from one applications and display this information leverage their existing expertise. Second, in directly within the Tradefacilitate system the cloud there is a more seamless testingenvironment to the other hosted in the cloud. It also uses Blob environment, which means that developersand get the same storage to store unstructured, binary data, such as scanned document images, that are can bring new features to market faster.behavior.” associated with each transaction. Moreover, by basing its application on the Because Tradefacilitate is built on the Windows Azure platform, Tradefacilitate Derek Hardiman, Chief Technology Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 using the can keep up with rapidly growing demand Officer, Tradefacilitate Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate for its services, while offering developers development system, developers at the the agility and efficiency needed to company were able to migrate the solution respond to changing customer needs. to the Windows Azure platform in just two days. Reduced Deployment Time by 97 Percent “A massive selling point for Windows Azure Altogether, it took developers only two is that it really is the only enterprise-ready, days to migrate the existing code base to platform-as-a-service environment out the Windows Azure platform—compared to there,” says Hardiman. “It was really a slam the four to eight weeks it would have taken dunk for us, because we already had the had Tradefacilitate scaled by installing and capability and knew we could migrate configuring its own servers. “Had we not quickly. Also, choosing Microsoft as our moved to the cloud infrastructure, we host provider sent a powerful message to would have had to bring in a whole our customers that we were basing our operational function around the solution on a trustworthy platform.” infrastructure that we weren’t prepared to deal with at the time,” Hardiman says. Benefits Moving the Tradefacilitate core application Migrating the Tradefacilitate hosted to the Windows Azure platform has application was both quick and cost- brought about many benefits. First, effective, according to Hardiman, because deployment was both quick and cost- developers were able to use the Visual
  4. 4. Studio and .NET Framework tools with In addition, Tradefacilitate no longer has to which they were already familiar. “We’ve incur expensive upfront capital expenses. hired a number of additional developers Instead of spending €4,000 (U.S. $5,341) on since then, and they haven’t had any issues each additional server and depreciating the getting up to speed using Windows Azure,” cost over time, the company now pays Hardiman says. “From their perspective, it’s about €80 (U.S. $107) per month as an a very natural extension of applications operational expense, which is a lot easier to they have worked on previously using manage and budget for. Visual Studio and .NET.” “Windows Azure allows us to side-step the Improved Test Environment whole issue of managing and owning an Moving its online system to the Windows infrastructure,” he says. “We don’t have to Azure platform has also improved the test spend time worrying about operating environment, making it possible for system patches, ancillary software“We don’t have to deal Tradefacilitate developers to bring new problems, or depreciating hardware costs. features to market faster and with greater And we don’t have to deal with the leadwith the lead time confidence. “When you own your own time required to buy equipment, and get itrequired to buy infrastructure, a lot of the time your testing configured and up-and-running. We can environment isn’t the same as your live instantly add extra capability—just likeequipment, and get it environment due to cost constraints, so turning on a tap—and the problem is you can run into issues when you move solved at very little cost.”configured and up-and- from one to the other,” Hardiman says.running. We can instantly “Because our test, User Acceptance Testing Increased Agility and Efficiency (UAT), and live environments are all in the Because Tradefacilitate developers areadd extra capability—just cloud, we know we can move from one freed from the responsibility of managing environment to the other and get the same what would have been a complex andlike turning on a tap.” behavior.” costly infrastructure, they have more time Derek Hardiman, Chief Technology to focus on customer needs. As a result, Officer, Tradefacilitate Rapid Scalability at Less Cost they can develop services more rapidly to While Tradefacilitate initially served comply with evolving trade regulations. businesses primarily within the European They can also more efficiently Union, it now has customers around the accommodate the growing number of globe. By basing its application on the importers and exporters interested in using Windows Azure platform, the company Tradefacilitate services. now can quickly scale to meet growing demand for its services. Rather than “Windows Azure puts you back in the purchasing and managing additional driver’s seat,” says Hardiman. “You’re able servers, scaling to meet new demands to control your costs, and experiment at simply requires adding more web and very little expense. And you’re able to worker roles—which saves roughly one- leverage all of your Microsoft toolset third of the cost of adding an additional experience. We’re able to get new features server every three years. out the door quickly with a small team of
  5. 5. For More Information developers. That’s key to our success Windows Azure PlatformFor more information about Microsoft because it allows us to stay agile.” The Windows Azure platform provides anproducts and services, call the Microsoft excellent foundation for expanding onlineSales Information Center at (800) product and service offerings. The main426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft components include:Canada Information Centre at (877)568-2495. Customers in the United States • Windows Azure. Windows Azure isand Canada who are deaf or hard-of- the development, service hosting, andhearing can reach Microsoft text service management environment fortelephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) the Windows Azure platform. It892-5234. Outside the 50 United States provides developers with on-demandand Canada, please contact your local compute and storage to host, scale,Microsoft subsidiary. To access and manage web applications on theinformation using the World Wide Web, Internet through Microsoft datago to: centers.www.microsoft.com • Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-basedFor more information about relational and self-managed databaseTradefacilitate products and services, call service built on Microsoft SQL Server(353) 1 6865067 or visit the Web site at: technologies.www.tradefacilitate.com • Windows Azure AppFabric. With Windows Azure 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. • Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket. Developers and information workers can use the new Software and Services • Technologies • Windows Azure Platform − Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 − Microsoft SQL Azure − AppFabric Service Bus − Blog Storage • Microsoft Visual Studio − Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate • ServicesThis case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published January 2011
  6. 6. service DataMarket to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform.To learn more, visit:www.microsoft.com/windowsazurewww.sqlazure.com

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