To market its solution to independent and enterprise developers, Codealike searched for a cloud platform that supported interoperability with open source technologies. It used Windows Azure to create a productivity service for developers that
extends Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and incorporates several open source components. After rapidly developing multiple versions of Codealike, the company gained 350 subscribers in two months.
Codealike is an independent software vendor (ISV) that builds solutions for companies looking to more efficiently manage technology projects. “Managers and developers essentially want the same thing—they want to track performance and see the tools and
activities that led to a given solution, so they can save time in the future,” says Sebastian Fernandez Quezada, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Codealike.
Quezada and Federico Andres Lois, who helped start the company, had an idea for a solution to help developers track which activities they complete each day and how much time they spend on each task. As a Microsoft BizSpark startup, and later a member of
the Microsoft Visual Studio Industry Partner Program, Codealike saw an opportunity to use its deep knowledge of the technology to architect the solution more quickly. In addition, Codealike recognized a major advantage in creating a product for use with Visual
Studio because of its widespread adoption among enterprise developers.
The company also wanted to create a product that appealed to the independent developer community. In fact, Codealike intended to initially market its solution as a subscription service for application developers who would likely have experience working with
open source technologies. In particular, it was interested in exploring the use of Raven DB, an open source document database system.
To gain dynamic infrastructure scalability without substantial capital investment, Codealike looked for a cloud platform with proven reliability. And, to retain design flexibility, the company needed a technology that supported interoperability with open
Codealike chose to build the solution it markets by the same name on Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, deployment, and hosting environment. Codealike is an extension for Visual Studio 2010 that lets software developers evaluate
performance and collaborate with peers in real time. “We looked at the Amazon platform, but it provided only cloud infrastructure,” says Lois, who serves as Chief Technology Officer at Codealike. “The platform-as-a-service capabilities of Windows Azure gave
us the flexibility to integrate open source technologies and meet a range of deployment scenarios.”
||We were amazed by how simple it was to embed RavenDB into our Windows Azure application. This gave us a huge advantage in getting our solution to market in just six weeks.
| Federico Andres Lois
The company planned to incorporate RavenDB, an open source document database system, into its application. By using a document-oriented data store, instead of a relational database, it hoped to enhance the speed and performance of Codealike. Quezada and Lois
realized that this was crucial to delivering on-demand updates and a high level of interactivity as core features of the Codealike interface.
Codealike used Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio to develop a proof of concept to validate the use of RavenDB for an application hosted on Windows Azure. “When we looked at the project as a whole, our biggest concern was whether we could get
RavenDB running in Windows Azure,” says Lois. “That concern didn’t last long. Within a day, we developed a working prototype.” Codealike consists of both web and worker roles. The web roles host the Codealike REST API and reporting interface. Worker roles
host RavenDB server instances. It also uses Windows Azure Drives for RavenDB storage.
After completing initial development, the company made minor modifications to application code to create three unique versions of the solution. With these adjustments, Codealike can be configured for public and private cloud environments, as well as on-premises
deployments. Within two months of its release, more than 300 independent developers downloaded Codealike. The company also negotiated agreements with a number of customers in Argentina, including Huddle Group, a software development firm based in Buenos Aires.
Says Gabriel Castares, Director at Huddle Group: “Codealike helps our software development teams to learn and understand their strengths while improving productivity. Because it's hosted on Windows Azure, they can access it from all of our development centers
and customers’ offices without sacrificing performance or responsiveness."
By using Windows Azure, Codealike has experienced the following benefits:
Completed development in three weeks. Codealike used the ability to easily incorporate technologies based on the Microsoft .NET Framework to build a prototype for its Codealike solution in one day. In three weeks, the company was able to
complete the migration of its solution to Windows Azure. “We were amazed by how simple it was to embed RavenDB into our Windows Azure application,” says Lois. “This gave us a huge advantage in getting our solution to market in just six weeks.”
Increased business model flexibility. Because Windows Azure supports diverse modes of application delivery, Codealike was able to quickly create three versions of the Codealike solution to fit different customer needs. Beyond the ability
to market its solution to more customers, Codealike now has the flexibility to segment pricing to maximize revenue—while generating demand for consulting and other value-added services in engagements with enterprise customers.
Achieved affordable scalability, global reach. In April 2011, in preparation for a spike in demand following an appearance on a popular technology television program in Argentina, Lois was able to quickly provision additional role instances
to support Codealike. “We know from peers in the industry that every time a company goes on that program, their servers get overloaded because of the sudden surge in traffic,” says Lois. “With Windows Azure, we’re completely prepared.” And the cost for Codealike
to maintain its application and scale capacity for these kinds of events is extremely low. In fact, the company currently serves 350 customers with three employees. “Because Windows Azure is so easy to maintain, we can focus on efforts to grow the product
and serve new markets, instead of worrying about infrastructure,” says Lois.
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