Software developer App Dynamic offers mobile applications for global customers. In response to a growing number of users downloading its AirServer application, the company wanted a better ability to scale the website that hosts its popular app.
After migrating its product websites to Windows Azure Cloud Services, App Dynamic can easily scale to support thousands of additional users and deliver customers faster downloads. Also, the company saves money and gains flexibility by having a hybrid solution.
App Dynamic, based in Iceland, develops mobile applications and other software for consumers worldwide. The company’s most popular application, AirServer, gives users the ability to stream movies, video games, and other content from their mobile phones to
their computer, tablet, or television. More than 1 million people use the application every day.
App Dynamic hosts five product websites, including a high-traffic website that manages AirServer downloads, processes customer payments, and activates new user licenses for the application. On average, 30,000 unique users visit the AirServer site every day,
a number that is growing rapidly. “The AirServer website is the most popular English-language website in Iceland,” says Pratik Kumar, CEO of App Dynamic. “More and more people are coming to the site to purchase and download the application, so we needed technology
that would help us scale to meet that demand.”
As AirServer grows in popularity, ensuring high availability for the site is more important than ever. “We have thousands of users either activating licenses or installing the application every day,” says Kumar. “If the activation service is down, people
can’t get the software, and that seriously affects our business.” Strong website performance is also essential. “Our users expect a fast, reliable experience when they come to the site,” Kumar states.
To meet its scalability, availability, and performance requirements, App Dynamic sought to find a cost-effective cloud-based solution.
||Using Windows Azure Cloud Services, we have the scalability we need to support the fast-paced growth of AirServer."
| Pratik Kumar
Through its participation in Microsoft BizSpark, a program that provides software, support, and visibility for technology startups, App Dynamic learned about the Windows Azure cloud platform. The company also evaluated Amazon Web Services, but it realized
that Windows Azure would better meet its specific needs. “Windows Azure was much more cost-effective than the Amazon solution, and Azure is built to support scalability and availability for high-capacity sites like ours,” says Kumar. “Azure also offers excellent
security, which is important because of the sensitive user data we store on the site.”
Over the course of three days in February 2013, App Dynamic migrated its five applications, including AirServer, to Windows Azure. The company is using Windows Azure Cloud Services to manage AirServer and the AirServer website, as well as its four other
sites. In addition to providing 99.95 percent availability, Cloud Services offers provisioning and load balancing for the websites. App Dynamic is also taking advantage of the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN), which caches publicly available objects
at regional locations to ensure optimal bandwidth for content delivery.
The company also migrated sales data and user profile information, stored in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 software, to Windows Azure SQL Database, a cloud-based relational database environment. “The transition of that database to Windows Azure SQL Database
only took a few hours,” says Kumar. App Dynamic still has an on-premises version of SQL Server 2008 R2, which is replicated to Cloud Services. “This hybrid solution gives us the flexibility we were looking for,” Kumar says.
With its Windows Azure solution, App Dynamic can easily scale its websites to support thousands of new users. Customers also have a better user experience due to Windows Azure CDN services. The company also saves money by not needing to invest in new hardware.
Scales to Support Thousands of New Users
With Windows Azure Cloud Services, App Dynamic can quickly and easily scale its websites to support an influx of new site visitors. “Using Windows Azure Cloud Services, we have the scalability we need to support the fast-paced growth of AirServer,” says
Kumar. “We had been averaging 30,000 unique site visitors, and lately we’ve seen that jump to 100,000 or more. With Cloud Services, we don’t have to worry about supporting that traffic.”
This ability to scale quickly was demonstrated recently when MacHeist, a website that resells Mac OS X software bundles, chose to promote AirServer. “During the MacHeist promotion, we were expecting 60,000 new customers to come to the website and download
the application,” says Kumar. “With the scalability we achieved through Windows Azure Cloud Services, every sale went through. We didn’t miss a single transaction.”
Gives Customers Fast Access to Applications
App Dynamic can also give AirServer customers a better user experience, because of the performance that the company gets through Windows Azure CDN services. “It’s essential that we give our customers the fastest possible performance when they visit the site
to download our applications,” says Kumar. “The Windows Azure Content Delivery Network does that, by providing caching to give us the best bandwidth. We host our sites outside of Iceland, because the Internet can be unreliable in this country and most of our
customers are in the United States and Europe. Windows Azure CDN has data centers in the US and Europe, so the download speeds are much faster for our users, and the overall user experience is much better.”
Provides High Availability
Cloud Services also ensures that all the company’s websites are highly available. “Windows Azure Cloud Services gives us confidence that our sites won’t go down,” says Kumar. “We know that the technology is running multiple instances in the cloud, and if
one goes down, we’d still have plenty of instances running.”
Saves Money and Gains Flexibility with the Hybrid Solution
App Dynamic is also reducing operational costs by using Windows Azure, in part because it doesn’t have to invest in new servers in order to scale. “We are hosting five websites on Cloud Services, and we don’t have to pay separately for each site,” says Kumar.
“Also, the price per download with Windows Azure is very competitive. As a result, we can push out new updates to our users in a more cost-effective way.”
Additionally, the company’s hybrid solution, with both cloud and on-premises versions of SQL Server, provides added flexibility. “By sharing data with the hybrid scenario, we feel better knowing that if something wasn’t working with our billing system, we
could still ensure that customer data is backed up and protected on the other database,” Kumar says. “It’s another advantage of using this powerful cloud solution.”
This case study is for informational purposes only.