United Mobile Apps
United Mobile Apps wanted to deliver Kepplr on a cloud platform that supported interoperability with open-source technologies. By using Windows Azure to host its solution, the company enjoys a platform that interoperates several open- source components. It now offers customers high availability, instant scalability, and reduced costs, all of which are key for a start-up company. It also simplifies IT maintenance while focusing on software, not servers.
Founded in 2009, United Mobile Apps is a mobile, broadband, and wireless technology company that focuses on connection management (UConnect), device management (UManage), and data synchronization (USync/Kepplr) software. Developing both client and server components, the company is well poised to leverage the upcoming LTE and future wireless technologies.
The company uses Kepplr to keep contacts, photos, calendar events, to-do, and other files safe and secure in the user’s account. It keeps as many as 10 devices in sync and helps users view the content from any device of their choice. United Mobile was using Rackspace, a non-cloud- based platform to host the solution. “We soon realized that the current set-up with high-end servers was expensive,” says Arun Samudrala, Co-Founder, United Mobile. “Plus, USync itself was a costly product. We needed a good technology provider to make our software available to the largest possible customer base, without incurring high IT costs or having to pass those costs on to our customers.”
United Mobile is also one of the very few companies to run multiple open-source components, including My SQL and GlassFish. It wanted to move to a technology platform that supported open-source components.
In late 2009, United Mobile participated in the Microsoft BizSpark program, an innovative program that gives software start-ups access to the latest Microsoft tools and technologies and helps connect them with the global community. The company then decided to move USync to Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment.
United Mobile completed the move of USync to Windows Azure in two months. “We wanted a software architecture that would help us showcase our technology platform,” says Sriram V Iyer, Co-Founder, United Mobile. “Windows Azure helped us do so. Today, USync is an award winning software that has backed up close to a million contacts from over 130 countries. It supports several platforms (Blackberry, iPhone, Symbian, Java, Android), and runs not only on phones but also on tablets.”
The company is also using Azure’s Compute and BLOB Storage with other messaging mechanisms.
“We were among the very first movers to the cloud and so were not competent with the platform,” says Arun Samudrala. “For instance, we were not aware that the computing unit and the database were placed at separate locations, which resulted in huge bills in the first month of our move. Finally, we moved them to the same location.”
The transition supported by Microsoft was fairly smooth and the company received a good response from its customers. “Plus, Windows Azure being business-focused, its pricing model was advantageous to us compared to other providers,” says Sriram V Iyer.
By taking advantage of the functionality of Windows Azure, United Mobile is able to showcase its technology solutions globally. The company is able to scale without limits to support growth―all this while avoiding IT infrastructure costs and providing a much better service to its customers.
Offers Endless Scalability
After migrating to Windows Azure, United Mobile grew rapidly. “We plan to reach millions of users,” says Sriram V Iyer. “Now our teams can quickly and easily scale Windows Azure to respond to demand spikes and avoid any break in service.” Windows Azure provides complete elasticity and endless scalability to manage expansion without having to factor in new staff or resources. With Windows Azure the company has the power to deliver an advanced user experience to every user.
Provides Problem-free Integration
Initially, when United Mobile moved to Windows Azure, it encountered some functionality issues. This was to be expected since Windows Azure had just appeared in the market. “However, we had great technical support from Microsoft during this time, and they made sure that all our issues were fixed,” says Sriram V Iyer. “We also faced a few challenges in porting some open-source components but again, the consulting and support from Microsoft helped us to achieve this successfully.”
Lowers Cost of Ownership
The company takes advantage of pay-as-you-go Windows Azure pricing to charge its customers, while adding capacity to meet customers’ changing requirements. The cost of ownership is thus extremely low. “The fact that we can quickly adjust how much infrastructure we use in Windows Azure is huge for us as a start-up company,” says Vasuki Setlur, VP-Product Management, United Mobile. “Zero capital expenditure to get an enterprise-class platform is the best thing about Windows Azure. The substantial price saving is a big deal for a start-up company like ours.”
Simplifies IT Maintenance
The company now has a full-service cloud platform and does not have to spend considerable time managing and maintaining its infrastructure. “We feel that we have a greater competitive advantage with Windows Azure because we can focus our resources on delivering services, rather than on building and managing IT infrastructure,” says Sriram V Iyer.
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