[box type=”info”]This is one of a series of sponsored blog posts highlighting New Zealand companies working with cutting-edge Microsoft technology. If you’re interested in Windows Phone 7 development, you should download the free Windows Phone Developer Tools and start building your own Windows Phone application.[/box]
POCKETVouchers is a local mobile marketing company who specialise in traceable mobile vouchers. Their unique approach means that customers can track exactly how many vouchers have gone out, how many have been redeemed, and ensures that vouchers cannot be redeemed multiple times.
“I would recommend start-ups have a good look at Azure.”
When POCKETVouchers decided to rebuild their platform to support future growth, they chose to go with Azure as their cloud provider. Todd mentions that they did look at alternatives such as Rackspace and Amazon, but chose Azure for a number of reasons: cost competitiveness, performance, and familiarity. For developers already familiar with the Microsoft server platform, shifting to Azure is a low-impact choice. Todd did mention some minor hurdles with getting existing code migrated to SQL Azure, but once those are understood, it was smooth sailing.
POCKETVouchers are using the beta version of the Azure Extra Small VMs, which allows them to move their low-load administration UI, or test services on these cheaper, smaller VMs. This frees up cost and capacity so that they can use large VMs for high-load periods, or even dedicate virtual machines to customers expecting a spike in load, perhaps around a concert or event.
In the future, Todd and the team are planning to automate scaling: bringing up VMs when the system is under heavy load, then shutting them down again when the load subsides. This approach, coupled with the pay-per-hour Azure billing, means that POCKETVouchers can get the best of both worlds: near-infinite scalability without the high ongoing cost of running hundreds of machines.