“Windows Azure offered the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model that we wanted. With this, the scalability, monitoring, and management overheads are eliminated, making it easier to use and far more affordable.”
Sandeep Kannambadi, Chief Technology Officer, Sportingmindz Technology
Sportingmindz develops match analysis and analytical products to help improve a sportsperson’s performance. To do so it needs an agile computing platform that can scale up or down instantly. Sportingmindz turned to the Windows Azure cloud platform. As a result, it has achieved levels of scalability critical to its success and avoided costs and overheads of maintaining, monitoring, and troubleshooting a large computing infrastructure. With this move, the company speeds time-to-market and benefits from a reliable, flexible, and highly available cloud platform.
Founded in October 2006 and based in Bangalore, India, Sportingmindz has innovative products that help teams and players analyze their performances in matches. They also assist the coach in analyzing and strategizing approaches for current and future matches. The products provide extensive reports to help coaches identify the strengths and weaknesses of players and offer effective solutions for performance enhancement.
Sportingmindz has created two products, namely, Cricket Match Analysis Software (CMAS) and Pingfinity. While CMAS is designed to analyze different aspects in a live cricket match, Pingfinity is a table tennis academy management software. It accelerates the development curve of players.
Initially developed on client server based architecture, Sportingmindz eventually moved to the ASP.NET platform. Sandeep Kannambadi, Chief Technology Officer, Sportingmindz says, “Due to large data spikes, we soon understood that it was impossible for the analyst who traveled with the team to carry this data on physical hard disks; data safety was crucial.”
The challenges did not end here. Even after moving to a web-based solution, the company realized that allowing teams to access data over the Internet was very expensive. To overcome these issues, Sportingmindz decided to move its products to a cloud platform.
In 2009, Sportingmindz started evaluating cloud-based solutions to meet its challenges and opportunities. Before choosing Windows Azure, it investigated other popular cloud offerings, but these fell short of the company’s requirements. Sanjay Rao, CEO, Sportingmindz says, “Windows Azure offered the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model that we wanted. With this, the scalability, monitoring, and management overheads are eliminated, making it easier to use and far more affordable.”
Data and video storage was extremely important to Sportingmindz. The company captures data and information from the games and stores this in Microsoft SQL Azure, a cloud-based, self-managed, relational database service built on Microsoft SQL Server technologies.
Even though video streaming is not extensive, it is an essential part of the analysis process. The company took advantage of the pay-as-you-go-model that Windows Azure offers, ensuring that it only pays for the services it uses. Sanjay Rao says, “Not all our customers avail our video-based solutions. Those who do, pay for services on a subscription basis. This means that a customer’s cost is based on his usage of our software.”
With Windows Azure, Sportingmindz can quickly scale up and down to meet customers’ requirements. If the company sees a high demand from its customers, it can easily increase the number of instances and scale up in a matter of minutes.
Sportingmindz migrated its products to the cloud in a record time of 10 days. Sandeep Kannambadi says, “Windows Azure brings scalability and flexibility to accommodate growth. It also brings high performance and availability to the customers.”
Explains Sandeep, “Windows Azure provides us excellent staging, deployment, and management features and functionalities. In addition, we get scalable on-demand storage, plus security and continuity of service.”
Enhances Scalability and Availability
In its traditional hosted infrastructure, Sportingmindz could not quickly scale up to meet potential compute and storage needs. With Windows Azure, however, the company has an infrastructure that can easily expand to accommodate changes in demand if needed. “For our academy system, the infrastructure depends on the number of customers and Windows Azure provides us the flexibility to scale the hardware accordingly,” explains Sandeep.
In addition, a key benefit of using Windows Azure is in making the software accessible to customers anywhere in the world. Network load balancing is built-in, thus offering continuous availability. The Azure service level agreement protects customers with a committed 99.95 percent uptime.
Simplifies IT Maintenance
Says Sandeep, “We don’t have to worry about provisioning or server configuration, as Microsoft Azure takes care of it.” He adds, “We’ve reduced the time we spend maintaining infrastructure by 25 percent.”
Reduces Time-to-Market by 15 percent
Sportingmindz no longer has to manage a local server infrastructure, which frees up employees’ time to focus on critical activities and continually improve the product. As deployment is simple, there is a significant reduction in time-to-market.
Reduces Costs with Flexible Pricing
Sportingmindz replaced a large upfront investment with a monthly bill for only the Windows Azure resources it uses. The pay-as-you-go Windows Azure pricing model is not only flexible but also affordable. “For the kind of storage we had (2 TB of video data and 1 GB of actual data), moving to the cloud has saved us approximately INR 10 lakhs (U.S.$ 20,000 approximately) a year,” says Sanjay Rao.
“By moving to the cloud platform, we do not have to hire additional personnel to maintain our infrastructure, no matter how much it grows,” says Sanjay. “Overall we estimate to save U.S. $15,000 in costs.”
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