Putting an app on the Web allows remote access from nearly every conceivable point, and that means "every single component has to be strong. If one of your components is compromised, the others shouldn't fall down."
One complaint Vermorel has about Windows Azure is the hourly-based billing. If Lokad can improve the efficiency of its own process, cutting a task down from one hour to 50 minutes, Microsoft will still charge the same price. Microsoft should implement per-minute charges to allow greater pricing flexibility, Vermorel says.
But there are other advantages. "Unlike classical Microsoft products," bugs on Azure are typically fixed within two months, Vermorel says. Lokad is using numerous Microsoft products in addition to Windows Azure, including C#, the .Net Framework, and SQL Azure.
Microsoft is taking customer feedback seriously and expects to keep improving Windows Azure, says Amy Barzdukas, general manager of server and tools marketing for Microsoft.
"I think that generally speaking we are very serious about taking customer feedback and continuing to iterate," she says. "We are constantly looking at the pricing models just as we are with the feature sets."
To promote the 1-year anniversary of Azure, Microsoft is issuing a press release touting customers T-Mobile USA, Travelocity.com and Xerox. T-Mobile used Azure to create a mobile software application called Family Room, while Travelocity opted for Azure for an analysis tracking system that helps improve its website's functionality and capacity, and Xerox build its Cloud Print service on top of Azure.
"What we're seeing with these customers, is they're turning to Microsoft for speed, ease and familiarity," Barzdukas says.
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