Movideo migrates video platform to Microsoft's Cloud

Infrastructure-as-a-service rejected in favour of Microsoft's platform-as-a-service Azure offering

Movideo has inked a four-year agreement, including long-term pricing, technical support and sales and marketing backing, to migrate its online video platform to Microsoft's Windows Azure Cloud for its Asia Pacific clients.

Movideo says the shift will allow the company to focus less on the back-end of the business and concentrate on the management and delivery of services for clients. The company was previously running its infrastructure service out of California.

Movideo CEO Tony McGinn said that with Movideo focussed on the Asia Pacific region, housing data centres in countries closer to their clients made sense.

“On that basis, Microsoft has multiple data centres around the world, including one in Hong Kong and Singapore. So being a little bit closer to our focus geographically, that made sense,” McGinn said.

“Secondly, with a multiple data centre strategy with Azure … there’s a lot more robustness and redundancy in the Windows Azure offering, and given that media and entertainment is such an important part of our ecosystem now, we need to be able to offer that to our customers.”

McGinn told Computerworld Australia that Movideo reviewed a number of companies to partner with, but Microsoft was the only company it formally engaged in discussions with.

“That’s not to say that we didn’t do a pretty thorough review of the others, it’s just that we didn’t sit down and go into complex, long-term alliance discussions with them,” he said.

CTO Cameron Moore said the decision to go with Microsoft came down being able to leverage Redmond's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, as opposed to infrastructure-as-a-service.

“Right now we exist in a Cloud environment which has provided us as an infrastructure-as-a service," he said. "That means we have to roll out our own – we roll out as many servers as we want but we have to install the operating system, put the virtual machine [on it], set up our own databases and really apply all the platform services that we need to have a scalable Cloud solution,” he said.

The Azure PaaS Cloud gives Movideo access to the SQL Azure Cloud-based database system and AppFabric, and means that the company can leverage the platform to expedite development, freeing up the company to focus on customer service instead of worrying about maintaining infrastructure.

“It’s taken away operational burden from us and allows Microsoft to do what they do best in their Cloud space to manage those servers for us while we can streamline operations and focus on feature development for our customers,” Moore said.

McGinn likens it to having your head down or up: “When you’re running your own infrastructure, even if it is in a Cloud service, you’re heads down, you’re looking at the plumbing a lot, you’re having to make things work [and] you’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting yourself,” he said.

“With platform-as-a-service, particularly in the way Windows Azure is configured and the way it provides a service, it’s more of a heads up [scenario].”

The alliance with Microsoft will also allow Movideo’s customers to access a range of Microsoft’s services, such as its content delivery network.

“Now we can offer our customers choice, whereas in the past customers have chosen their own or used one of our other partners. Customers can now use the Microsoft content delivery network, which is part of Windows Azure. This will allow us to give another pricing option for our clients in the marketplace.”

Despite the company having developed its current system in Java, Moore doesn't anticipate having to hire.NET developers to aid with the migration.

“So we haven’t had to change a lot of our code at all, with our focus on development, and the port has been quite smooth,” Moore said.

McGinn expects the migration to occur seamlessly – he said clients, which include the Ten Network and MCM in Australia, should not notice any difference except, potentially, slightly enhanced performance due to the location of data centres.

Migration to Windows Azure is expected to be completed in May this year.

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