2 page Case Study
Posted: 7/23/2012
470
Rate This Evidence:

BayCloud Systems ISV Scales Cloud Service to Manage 240 Percent Increase in Customer Volume with Ease

BayCloud Systems saw an opportunity to help organizations comply with an emerging online privacy statute. To shorten development time and minimize capital costs, it decided to use cloud technology to build and host its CookieQ solution. After evaluating Amazon EC2, BayCloud Systems chose to use Windows Azure. Within the first three months of 2012, BayCloud Systems added 60 new customers throughout Europe and is now positioned to expand globally.

Business Needs
In many areas of the world, government bodies are taking action to regulate the use of HTTP cookies, text files used to store information about a person’s visit to a given website. In May 2010, the member states of the European Union ratified a law called the EU Privacy Directive. It stipulates that digital publishers must secure consent before placing cookies on a web visitor’s computer. It also states that publishers need to prove that these consent requests have been rendered.

In the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner’s Office mandated that businesses and government organizations demonstrate this capability by May 26, 2012. To ensure compliance before the deadline, public and private organizations, such as the Office of Rail Regulation in the United Kingdom, began to search for a way to incorporate cookie consent functionality into their websites.

*
* We compared solutions from a number of cloud providers, including Google and Amazon, and the Table Storage capability in Windows Azure was the fastest, most scalable database component we could find. *

Michael O’Neill
Founder and Chief Technology Officer, BayCloud Systems

*
“To save time and minimize cost, we were looking for a solution that we could plug in to our existing web infrastructure, without the need to develop custom code,” says Gavin Hammon, Web Communications Manager at the Office of Rail Regulation.

BayCloud Systems, an independent software vendor, saw an opportunity to be first-to-market with a solution to help organizations across the United Kingdom meet these new requirements. Executives wanted to modify a service that the company had previously developed called TrackerGate, a downloadable application that lets users see which first-party and third-party cookies are being sent from their computer. “As the compliance deadline for the new privacy law moved closer, we knew demand for cookie-consent technology would start to spike,” says Mike O’Neill, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of BayCloud Systems. “We recognized that the key to developing a solution to meet this opportunity was access to massive, scalable storage capacity. We knew we couldn’t afford the time or the cost to build the infrastructure ourselves.”

Solution
In 2010, BayCloud Systems decided to build its solution by using Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, deployment, and hosting environment. The company had evaluated several competing cloud services technologies. “We compared solutions from a number of cloud providers, including Google and Amazon, and the Table Storage capability in Windows Azure was the fastest, most scalable database component we could find,” says O’Neill.

In a matter of weeks, BayCloud Systems used Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio to build a working prototype of the solution that it now markets as CookieQ. After six months of further development and testing the solution on websites based on a variety of web server platforms, the company released CookieQ to market in May 2011. The application consists of a JavaScript-based client component and a database built on Windows Azure Table Storage. The JavaScript element manages the placement or deletion of cookies sent by a web server, depending on whether or not users give their consent for these cookies to be stored. The database records the HTTP domain names of sites where visitors have consented to the placement of cookies. By activating a subscription to CookieQ, web publishers gain access to proprietary JavaScript code, which manages the removal of first-party cookies and other local storage if requested. Because BayCloud Systems hosts the database component on Windows Azure, publishers can apply a visitor’s consent to cookies across multiple websites. Also, if the publisher uses Windows Internet Explorer 9 or an earlier version, a visitor’s consent to third-party cookies is automatically delivered to their browser’s settings.

In November 2011, as part of its own internal compliance effort, the Office of Rail Regulation began investigating the market for a solution that would give visitors to its website a way to opt out of receiving cookies. The organization chose to work with BayCloud Systems. “It was clear from our research that CookieQ offered an easy-to-install, comprehensive solution backed by a company that has led the way in cookie management and auditing technology,” says Hammon.

Benefits
By using Windows Azure to build and host its CookieQ service, BayCloud Systems has achieved the following benefits:
  • Faster development with familiar and flexible tools. BayCloud Systems used familiar tools to minimize coding time, which enabled developers to quickly create a working prototype and focus more effort on advanced feature development and rigorous testing. Also, it used Table Storage to simplify development planning and shorten the length of the project. “Because Windows Azure provided all of the necessary development tools and solved the scalability question for us, we were able to turn the idea for CookieQ into a reality in six months,” says O’Neill.

  • Added 85 new customers, efficiently managed incremental growth. In the first six months after releasing CookieQ, the company delivered its solution to more than two dozen customers. Just as O’Neill had anticipated, as the deadline for compliance with the EU Privacy Directive drew closer, demand for CookieQ increased. Between January and April 2012, BayCloud Systems added approximately 60 customers. “In fewer than three months, the number of websites that use CookieQ quadrupled,” says O’Neill. “During that time, application performance was never an issue because we were able to add capacity with just a few clicks.”

  • Increased geo-expansion capabilities. BayCloud Systems currently uses Windows Azure to provide scalable, reliable service to customers in several European countries. As government bodies around the world consider implementing measures similar to the EU Privacy Directive, the company is well-positioned to penetrate international markets. “It’s difficult to determine where the next growth opportunity will arise, but with Windows Azure and the support of Microsoft global data centers, we can deploy CookieQ to customers just about anywhere,” says O’Neill.

For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit:
www.microsoft.com/casestudies

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 10 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Oxford, England, BayCloud Systems is an independent software vendor that specializes in the development of HTTP cookie management and audit technologies.


Software and Services
Microsoft Azure

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
United Kingdom

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
Cloud Services

Languages
English

RSS