Saugatuck Research: Windows Azure Insight from ISVs and SIs
Saugatuck has studied the Windows Azure platform in depth over the past two years. This has included briefings by Microsoft as well as extensive interviews with ISVs and global systems integrators (SIs) that have migrated or built nearly 150 SaaS solutions on the Windows Azure platform.
Based on this research, Saugatuck has found that the Windows Azure platform provides migrating ISVs (and SIs deploying primarily for corporate customers) with a highly-productive, robust and cost-effective platform for enabling efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation in delivering SaaS solutions, as one ISV commented:
- “If you’re a Microsoft house on SQL server, you might as well move to Windows Azure. Make Windows Azure your target platform and don’t maintain two separate versions.”
- “Architecture is of profound importance. Good architecture brings agility and cost-effective quality solutions.
We note that in order to realize the benefits of the platform, architecture that understands the platform and its design constraints is considered essential. However, there are significant challenges in getting up to speed on Windows Azure as a platform and in learning how to work around design constraints that can cause delays and increase expenses, for example:
- Deployment of packages and VM roles from on-premises development still a challenge despite improvements in Azure Development Services Portal. Evolving VM roles and SQL Azure feature set are possible workaround tools.
- Because of no certainty of achieving certifications or their timing, interim workaround solutions recommended, e.g., hybrid data storage for on-premises storage of regulated data that cannot reside on platform.
Despite these design constraints, Saugatuck believes Windows Azure remains a viable platform to accelerate an ISV into SaaS and recommends ISV consider exploring a relationship with a Windows Azure SI partner to accelerate implementation, avoid wasted expense, and implement a long-term viable solution.
Note1: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1023MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.
Note 2: For more on Saugatuck’s assessment of Windows Azure, see companion Strategic Perspective 1016MKT 10 Things To Know About Windows Azure, 27 January 2012, or Lens360 blog post Microsoft Azure Update: Ten Things You Need to Know, 01 February 2012.