4-page Case Study - Posted 3/23/2010
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IT Services Company Reduces Costs, Expands Opportunities with New Cloud Platform
Wipro Technologies is one of the leading providers of global integrated business, technology, and process solutions. Known for innovative design, the company focuses on solutions that reduce cost of ownership, enhance product quality, and increase worker productivity. Wipro started building applications on the Windows Azure platform to provide customers with dynamically scalable, high-performance applications on a pay-as-you-go basis. By taking advantage of the on-demand application scaling, Windows Azure storage services, Microsoft SQL Azure relational database capabilities, and support for familiar programming languages in the Windows Azure platform, Wipro expects to reduce costs, improve agility, enhance global consistency for its customers, and add new revenue streams for its own operations.
Wipro Technologies is a global provider of IT services, outsourced R&D, infrastructure outsourcing, business process services, and business consulting. It is also the world’s largest third-party provider of R&D services and the world’s first PCMM (People Capability Maturity Model) and CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) level company. Based in Bangalore, India, it serves enterprise customers in every industry and on every continent. Innovation and excellence are hallmarks of Wipro’s more than three decades in IT.
Wipro is constantly looking for ways to use technology to enhance value for its enterprise customers. One such area is to build solutions that can take advantage of cloud platforms—delivered over the Internet and hosted in a separate data center. These platforms provide capacity elasticity, reduce capital expenditures, and promote faster time-to-market.
Wipro evaluated various scenarios for using cloud platforms before deciding to focus on business-to-business (B2B) integration to help customers create an extended enterprise. Cloud platforms can potentially play an important role in B2B solutions by providing the integration and messaging layer between customers and their partners to connect enterprises across organizational boundaries in a cost effective manner.
||The Windows Azure platform is a highly effective and low cost option for hosting complex solutions with agility and scalability.
Senior Vice President and Global Head of Business Technology Services,
Wipro intends to offer its enterprise customers systems integration, consulting, migration, and application development services for cloud solutions.
Wipro analyzed the Windows Azure platform—an Internet-scale cloud services platform that is hosted in Microsoft data centers—and chose it as the foundation for building some of its B2B integration solutions. Wipro is also helping its enterprise customers evaluate and adopt the Windows Azure platform.
“We hope to take advantage of the power of cloud to build solutions that reduce costs, improve agility, and enhance global consistency for our customers,” says Srini Pallia, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Business Technology Services at Wipro Technologies.
The Windows Azure platform is an Internet-scale cloud services platform that is hosted in Microsoft data centers. It includes an operating system and a set of developer services that can be used separately or together in a pay-as-you-go model. In addition, Windows Azure platform AppFabric enables users to build and manage applications more easily both on-premise and in the cloud.
“The Windows Azure platform met all of our major requirements,” says Chandra Surbhat, Global Head of Microsoft Business Solutions at Wipro Technologies. “It can scale up and down dynamically to meet the customer’s immediate need. It also provides on-demand compute, Blob Storage, federated authentication, Microsoft SQL Azure, and built-in provisioning, billing, and metering capabilities to support a pay-as-you-go pricing model.”
B2B Proof of Concept
Wipro is a key supplier of a range of IT services to Shell, including bespoke application development, package implementations, infrastructure, consulting, and application support.
Wipro wanted to demonstrate Windows Azure platform capabilities and how they can be applied in the context of an extended enterprise in the oil and gas industry. After evaluating a number of extended enterprise scenarios, Wipro and Microsoft chose a B2B integration scenario at Shell, which involves customers ordering fuels and lubricants.
Shell has two primary channels used by its customers to buy fuels and lubricants. For large B2B customers, Shell uses an electronic data interchange (EDI) infrastructure to integrate its systems with customer systems for order placement and invoice provisioning. Small- to medium-sized customers use a Web-based application to place orders, view order status, and obtain their account information and order history.
Wipro saw an opportunity to provide ordering and invoicing services using the Windows Azure platform instead of EDI or Web-based applications that would benefit all customers, large or small.
To demonstrate ordering and invoicing services on the Windows Azure platform, Wipro built a proof of concept (POC) that provides a flexible, scalable alternative to EDI and faster time-to-market. The POC showcases to Shell how the Windows Azure platform can be used for building a B2B Integration channel between Shell and its customers.
The POC includes a set of business services on the Windows Azure platform that can be used by customer applications and devices to integrate with Shell systems. The services were developed by Wipro using the Microsoft Visual C# programming language and using the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) for communication. The order processing and invoicing are RESTful services that are easy to build and require minimal XML markup, making it a lightweight option for data transfer. The RESTful services use Shell standard XML schemas and were developed using the WCF 3.5 Framework. The RESTful services are secured using certificate based authentication. Application design took only about a month.
When a customer places an order, the Order Processing Service routes the order to a queue in Windows Azure storage. A worker role instance of Windows Azure performs the background processing on the Orders in the queue. It processes the Order and then pushes it to the on-premise Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 application for further processing. The worker role connects to a BizTalk Server Web service endpoint URL using the BizTalk WCF adapter. The Biztalk Server integrates with the SAP system that processes the Orders and generates Invoices.
At the same time the order is stored in Windows Azure binary large objects (Blob) Storage. Customer invoices generated from the SAP system are also stored in Blob Storage, where customers can access them for download.
Wipro is exploring potential enhancements to the solution to take advantage of standards-based integration capabilities in the Windows Azure platform AppFabric such as AppFabric Access Control simplify authentication and the Service Bus to simplify enterprise integration with on-premise systems.
Wipro developers used the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 development system to rapidly build the application and found that development for the Windows Azure platform is as easy as developing for the Microsoft .NET Framework.
Expanding the Scope
Wipro is actively exploring Windows Azure capabilities in other industries. For example, it is building an Insurance Hub solution that will integrate more than 30,000 active auto insurance agents in the United States to allow them to get insurance rate comparisons and quotes from multiple insurance providers and to bind policies. To complement this, Wipro is developing a Virtual Service Center portal that will allow insurance providers to offer online services to agents and customers without having to maintain their own field infrastructure and applications.
Wipro is taking advantage of additional features in Windows Azure, such as Access Control and the Service Bus, to create hybrid software-plus-services applications in these solutions that combine cloud and on-premises applications.
Access Control enables the Virtual Service Center portal to support multiple authentication providers. The portal supports federated Active Directory authentication with an on-premise Active Directory for insurance providers, forms authentication for agencies, and Live ID federated authentication for end customers. The Service Bus enables integration with an insurance provider’s on-premise database to allow agencies to register with the insurance provider.
Wipro is building solution accelerators and tools for its customers to use to further reduce the time to build, migrate, deploy and monitor Windows Azure solutions. Taking advantage of capabilities in the Windows Azure platform such as federated authentication, enhanced support for RESTful services, and SQL Azure, will help customers reduce cost and gain many innovative capabilities.
By building solutions on the Windows Azure platform, Wipro will be able to cost effectively provide its enterprise customers with solutions that scale dynamically to meet demand, reduce computing costs, and enhance global consistency. Wipro intends to evaluate cloud capabilities for its internal applications and apply them where applicable.
||By using these tools to rapidly build applications and services and migrate them to the Windows Azure platform, we will be able to help our customers quickly react to market changes without major capital expenditures.
Global Head of Microsoft Business Solutions, Wipro Technologies
The Windows Azure platform provides a low cost option for hosting business services. The dynamic scalability provided by running applications and storing data on the Windows Azure platform will enable enterprise customers to host services without adding costly infrastructure or having excessive unused resources. Because Windows Azure is hosted in Microsoft data centers, enterprise customers who use the Windows Azure platform only have to pay for the compute and storage costs that they use. This will help to reduce hardware acquisition, management, and power costs.
In addition to the agility it gains from the dynamic scalability of the Windows Azure platform, Wipro is taking advantage of the plug and play services model to shorten time-to-market. The company is using application programming interfaces (APIs) in Windows Azure to reduce the time to build, migrate, deploy, and monitor Windows Azure solutions. “By using these tools to rapidly build applications and services and migrate them to the Windows Azure platform, we will be able to help our customers quickly react to market changes without major capital expenditures,” says Surbhat.
Supports New Scenarios
Wipro expects the new services and integration capabilities in the Windows Azure platform to generate new demand for advisory, migration, and application development services for its own firm. The company plans to take advantage of the federated authentication through Access Control, enhanced support for RESTful services, Blob Storage, tables, queues, and SQL Azure to drive new opportunities. “The Windows Azure platform supports several new scenarios that were not feasible before,” says Surbhat. “For example, a retail customer with multiple outlets or dealers can have multiple small databases, and connect them through a data hub in the cloud. Wipro can offer customers hybrid applications that include cloud and on-premises components so that customers can realize the cost benefits of moving process-intensive portions of their applications to the cloud, while keeping other portions on premises.”
Enhances Global Consistency
The availability of Windows Azure data centers around the world will help to eliminate network performance differences for enterprises with global operations. This localized service will help to ensure that all geographical locations have the same high availability service and will support easier compliance with local regulatory requirements.
Lowers Total Cost of Ownership
SQL Azure provides a high-availability relational database that will help lower the total cost of ownership for Wipro customers by eliminating the need for onsite hardware and a separate database administration team. The built-in data redundancy provided by SQL Azure provides a high level of scalability. Customers can potentially look at consolidating some of their Microsoft SQL Server databases spread across the enterprise, on SQL Azure. This move could help provide better maintainability and reliability in addition to lowering total cost of ownership.
“The Windows Azure platform is a highly effective and low cost option for hosting complex solutions with agility and scalability. Our experience with the Shell B2B integration POC has convinced us of the immense benefits that we will be able to provide our customers with cloud services,” says Pallia.
Windows Azure Platform
The Windows Azure platform provides an excellent foundation for expanding online product and service offerings. The main components include:
- Windows Azure. Windows Azure is the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft data centers. In addition, Windows Azure serves developers’ connectivity needs through the following services.
- Microsoft Codename "Dallas." Microsoft Codename "Dallas" is a new service that developers and information workers can use to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform.
- Windows Azure platform AppFabric. With Windows Azure platform AppFabric, developers can build and manage applications more easily both on-premises and in the cloud.
− The AppFabric Service Bus connects services and applications across network boundaries to help developers build distributed applications.
− The AppFabric Access Control provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services.
- Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies.
To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit:
For More Information
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Download: Windows Azure Platform Training Kit