WebSoft is a software company that wanted to give its customers a less expensive and more scalable way to use its product. By using Windows Azure to host its solution, WebSoft has lowered deployment costs for one of its customers, Adidas, by
30 percent and reduced its own server management costs by 50 percent. WebSoft can now offer customers availability levels of 99.9 percent, provide instant scalability, and focus on software, not servers.
WebSoft is a Russian software vendor whose WebTutor human resources (HR) solution is used by 65 percent of Russian companies and many customers in Eastern Europe. WebTutor is a powerful learning management and talent management system that companies
use to handle recruitment, test candidates and employees, organize and conduct elearning and blended learning programs, perform complex employee assessment, and automate staff development and succession planning. WebTutor offers a highly customizable HR portal
that offers many advanced functions, such as a corporate social network and online tools for e-learning content development.
WebSoft launched WebTutor in 2000 as a classic on-premises software solution. By 2008, customers began asking WebSoft for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployment option to minimize server and maintenance costs. WebSoft complied, offering WebTutor as a
hosted solution from a third-party data center in Moscow.
Although only about 10 percent of its customers used the SaaS deployment option, interest steadily grew—especially among multinational companies that did not want to invest in expensive local IT infrastructure.
||Not only will our customers save money, but our server management work is cut in half by using Windows Azure.
|| Pavel Kovalev
Vice President, Product Development, WebSoft
WebSoft watched with interest as cloud-computing services appeared in the market. By using a platform-as-a-service cloud model to host WebTutor, WebSoft could eliminate the need to manage leased servers and infrastructure software, giving it more time to focus
on its offerings. For customers, cloud deployment would further reduce deployment costs and provide faster and easier scalability than either an on-premises or hosted model could provide.
Because WebSoft used Microsoft technologies to build WebTutor, it naturally turned to Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment. In April 2012, WebSoft migrated WebTutor to Windows Azure—a process that
took little more than a month. “Migrating WebTutor was natural and easy and required almost no changes to our product,” says Pavel Kovalev, Vice President of Product Development for WebSoft.
WebSoft currently has four customers participating in Windows Azure projects, including Adidas. Adidas Moscow uses WebTutor to provide HR services to its nearly 12,000 employees in the region. It uses WebTutor to publish employee training courses, administer
tests, conduct webinars, perform employee assessments, and more.
Adidas had accessed WebTutor by using the SaaS deployment option, but its employee base in the region was growing, and Adidas faced the expense of deploying more servers to support WebTutor. The company opted to move to Windows Azure instead. WebSoft expects
to move Adidas and other trial customers into production on Windows Azure by August 2012.
WebSoft uses Windows Azure web and worker roles for compute power, SQL Database for database capability, and Windows Azure Storage to store data. WebSoft stores relational data in SQL Database and non-relational data in the Table Storage option in Windows
Azure. It is exploring the use of the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network to speed customer access to data by caching content at locations close to customers.
WebSoft is determining a pricing structure for its Windows Azure–based deployment model that charges customers based on planned or actual usage by users and transactions.
By using Windows Azure to deploy and manage WebTutor, WebSoft can reduce its own and customers’ costs, offer improved availability and scalability, and relieve its staff of infrastructure worries.
Customer Costs Up to 30 Percent Lower
Cost savings will vary by customer, but Adidas expects to significantly decrease WebTutor deployment costs. “By hosting WebTutor in Windows Azure, our costs will be 30 percent lower because we eliminate the cost of purchasing and managing servers,” says
Devletova Gulnara, HR Retail Manager for Adidas Ltd., Russia, CIS. Plus, customers don’t have to over-provision servers and grow into them over time. With Windows Azure, customers use only the compute and storage resources they consume each month.
WebSoft IT Costs 50 Percent Lower
For WebSoft, Windows Azure is a big timesaver and money-saver. “Not only will our customers save money, but our server management work is cut in half by using Windows Azure,” says Kovalev. “While we only have one full-time staff member doing this work
today, we would have had to hire more people if we continued to add servers, so we will realize a salary cost avoidance with the move to Windows Azure.”
WebSoft can now focus on delivering services rather than managing infrastructure. “With Windows Azure, we are less distracted by infrastructure concerns and able to focus on developing great software,” says Kovalev.
Availability of 99.9 Percent
WebSoft can also deliver outstanding reliability for WebTutor by hosting it from Windows Azure. “Windows Azure offers a very attractive service level agreement—99.9 percent availability—for WebTutor,” Kovalev says. “We really trust the Windows Azure
architecture. Hosting our product from Windows Azure gives us greater peace of mind.”
Instant Scalability for Customers
By using Windows Azure, WebSoft can meet a wider range of customer needs. It can quickly and easily scale up or down the number of Windows Azure virtual servers that each customer needs, which lets customers optimize deployment costs. “Customers may
need to have 10,000 employees take a certain test in WebTutor within a day, which puts a significant strain on computing infrastructure,” says Kovalev. “With Windows Azure, customers can increase the number of instances running WebTutor in a minute.”
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