Posted on February 5, 2015 by Tobin Dalrymple
It’s no secret – organizations have a hard time putting their most critical workloads and data into the public cloud. Fears abound. Delays and hesitations result.
That doesn’t mean it’s not being done. In fact, we come across organizations every day leading the charge into the enterprise public cloud, whether it be Hybrid or all in. Read on as we highlight three companies – organizations we feel are visionaries, unlocking the cutting edge competitiveness of services like Microsoft Azure, long before it becomes the norm.
Qoros runs the brain of its futuristic car completely from the public Azure cloud – from compute to storage and apps. The reasons was simple: they wanted to take over the market. Fast.
When Qoros, the upstart Chinese automotive manufacturer, was setting up to launch its first car in 2013, it had carte blanche. No history. No restrictions. No limitations. It was aiming to build a car unlike any the world had ever seen – one that would be the most connected “smart” vehicle, ever. But as a new company in a competitive space with no time to spare, it couldn’t afford to build the massive data center needed to run the digital heart of the car. It needed something more nimble, affordable, a solution that would enable it to expand internationally without friction.
Qoros first looked at Amazon and other local cloud providers, but only Azure offered the required presence in both China and Europe. Azure also provided the breadth of cloud services Qoros needed to develop and run its vehicle telematics system and a variety of other core business workloads in the cloud.
Qoros deployed its vehicle telematics system in Azure , leveraging the Microsoft cloud’s virtual compute, networking, storage, and other resources for developing and hosting applications in Microsoft data centers. With it, they started delivering an always-connected services platform, with an elastic infrastructure could grows with its business—eliminating the need to build data centers as it expanded across Europe.
“Microsoft was a one-stop shop where we could find everything that we needed.” Eric Pang, Senior Manager of Connected Services for Qoros
Mazda now backs up hundreds of servers worth of data to the Azure cloud, adding extra layers of protection, at a fraction of the cost and hassle. It’s so easy in fact, it’s planning on stepping up its Azure investments, and being in other mission critical workloads to the fold.
Mazda North American Operations oversees the marketing, parts and customer service for over 700 dealerships in the United States and Mexico. Mazda supports each of their dealers with technology hardware, computers and software – all of which is mission critical.
While Mazda already had an extensive replication and recovery solution for its 50 most important servers, a remaining 250 servers were at risk in the event of a major disaster. Mazda needed a cost efficient and speedy way to backup and recover this priceless second-tier data.
It was Azure’s hybrid-cloud storage capability that won over Mazda engineers. The team ended up using StorSimple appliances to create an on-premise enterprise storage area that connects directly to Mircrosoft Azure Storage, sending regular encrypted snapshots of data. In the event of an emergency the offsite appliance would intelligently pull only the latest needed data to restore, resulting in much faster and lighter recovery.
The benefits were 20% more time for their engineers to focus on innovation, a reduced storage cost of 95% and far faster, easier back up and storage times. The trial was so successful Mazda is now investigating using Azure for its priority tier-one data demands.
“Data is copied to the cloud in half the time and files can be brought back from Azure in minutes instead of 24 hours.” Kai Sookwongse, Group Manager, Enterprise Infrastructure, Mazda North American Operations
When a digital Holiday campaign can make or break your bottom line for the year, it better be dependable. This is exactly why Marks and Spencer went to Azure’s premier elastic compute capabilities to hedge its online campaign over the Christmas season.
Marks and Spencer is regarded as one of the UK’s most popular retailers. And for it, December is the most important month of the year. A time when its advertising campaigns are the cornerstone of its holiday strategy. When its 2013 primetime holiday TV ad campaign encouraged people to visit a dedicated, interactive website — getting them to vote and share comments — it was vital that it could cope with the anticipated spike in traffic. If the website failed, it could mean huge losses to their holiday earnings.
The engineering team had very little time to find a solution after learning about the ad campaign. Fortunately, they had experience working with Azure already and already knew it would be the right solution for the job. They were certain Azure provided the speed, scale, and elasticity that such an important campaign required.
After a few weeks of testing, Microsoft’s Services team was engaged to get the site up and running. Everythign went off without a hitch, and the benefits played out in several ways. Not only did they provide a robust and elastic website that handled the holiday traffic boom in stride, but they were able to drastically reduce costs, spending far less than if they had bought the infrastructure needed to execute this project.
“By using Azure, we could have the site up in hours if needed. If we engaged with our internal infrastructure team, it would take days just to build the server, so in terms of work hours, using Azure is invaluable.” John Pillar, Marks and Spencer, Head of Software Engineering
Whether you want to dip your toes, or jump all in to a cloud service like Azure, Softchoice has the non biased experts and data driven tools to help make your choice the right one. Connect with us today.