Microsoft IT’s first cloud application

Microsoft IT developed its first cloud application in 2010. It was an employee auction application, used once a year as part of the Microsoft charitable giving campaign. With it, employees donate items
(ranging from mentoring sessions, to cooking classes, to software, and even the use of an executive’s
car for a day!) and others buy them, with all the proceeds going to charity. The auction, typically held
in October, runs for a month.

Why did we pick this as our first cloud application? A number of factors led us to this decision: first, it was not a business-critical application. Therefore, news of any application problems would not cause damage to the company’s finances or reputation or appear on the front page of any newspaper.

Second, we could see the scalability features of Microsoft Azure in action. As the end of October
approached, traffic on the application continually rose, reaching a peak in the last few days of the

Finally, it was a relatively simple application whose deployment in the cloud did not require updating other applications in concert.

In the end, the application was very successful and the auction met its goals (incidentally, over the
years, Microsoft’s employees have raised more than one billion dollars for charity). Microsoft IT
learned many lessons on cloud development and deployment, which we used in subsequent stages of
our own journey. We saw the application easily scale to meet the increased demand during the course
of the month. At the end of the auction, we could shut it down and no longer pay for resources
required to run it (as we would have—for servers, operations staff, and so on—had we run the
application in our own datacenter). By every measure, then, this first experiment was a success.

There were many other early experiments in this period, trying out new approaches, testing new
features, and so on; we learned that developing a “culture of experimentation” was useful in that we
could be continuously trying new things and innovating.

Source of Information : Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Strategy

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