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Infosys on-boarding ISV's on the cloud - 1

Infosys on its part is helping Enterprises and ISV’s to adopt cloud.

Adopting this new paradigm of cloud computing; newer and innovative styles of using the cloud platforms will have to be explored. Here I shall walk you through one such case which demonstrates how we’ve helped one of our ISV customers, Volantis ,  to adopt cloud.  The detailed case study on this project done by Infosys is available here

Volantis is a developer of innovative solutions for mobile carriers. The company’s Ubik.com software makes it simple for users to point and click to create custom Web sites that are optimized for mobile devices.Ubik.com is a free online service that allows small businesses and consumers to quickly build a mobile Internet site, without having to write a single line of code.

To cater the applications non-functional requirements of being highly available and achieve global class scalability, which would help meet the demands a rapidly growing user base, Infosys helped Volantis to offload Ubik’s data storage on to the Microsoft Azure platform.

Background
Volantis was looking at migrating some of their existing applications functionality to the cloud and gain the benefits of a cloud deployment to meet the high demanding non-functional requirements of the application with near-zero investments. Infosys helped Volantis identify the scenario that could demonstrate the benefits of Windows Azure cloud. The scenario identified was in addressing the scalability demands of the storage requirements in the Ubik.com application.
 

Challenges & Goals:
The main challenge faced by Volantis was to store large amounts of user created site content & its associated metadata, being as large as over 30 terabytes. And that too without having to actually invest in setting up such an infrastructure upfront from their own working capital.  Volantis desired that the Ubik.com storage be made capable to scale seamlessly and meet the storage demands of  their mobile users community.

Proposed Solution:
In the process Infosys proposed a phased approach for migrating Ubik.com to Azure. In the first phase, and which I would be touching upon here, the migration of the file storage to Azure BLOB storage was proposed as it was a layer with minimal change and the risk associated with the change was low. With this approach the benefits of the cloud could be easily realized in a short span of time.
Our solution proposed architecting a separate RESTful services layer on top of the Blob Storage that would provide a seamless and scalable access to the Ubik.com application. Exposing RESTful service wrappers on the Azure operating system was essential so as to have blob storage accessible from Ubik’s non-microsoft application APIs.
A separate service layer was build to minimize the changes in using Azure Storage with Ubik.com. Site content uploaded by the Ubik.com users into storage comprised of images and XDIME files. These files before uploading into the storage had to be parsed and then appropriately persisted. The newly created services layer on Azure handled this and thus avoiding making any significant changes to the existing application codebase.

Migration Approach:
The migration of Ubik’s data storage from on-premise to the cloud was done as shown in the figure below:

UBikMigration.jpg

Team Dynamics:
Both the Infosys and Volantis developers worked as a team to identify areas in code which could have a possible impact owing to the change. The team also identified service interfaces which would be required to be exposed from the Windows Azure end to make the storage directly accessible on the Ubik’s non-Microsoft platform. The requirements and design was done collaboratively between the Infosys & Volantis teams working across different timezones. Using basecamp as the project management and collaboration tool helped to better cordinate the project across different time zones and deliver the project in a short span of time.
Once this initial design completed, both the teams got about working on their respective areas of the application. The Volantis team made changes in the Ubik application code and the Infosys team focused on building the RESTful services on the Azure operating system.  On code completion, the teams got together to test the services and the integration touch points. The entire project was completed within four weeks. 
Here I have shown a typical working model by which we engage with customers to help adopt cloud. With Volantis, Infosys not only assisted in identifying a cloud scenario but also helped in migrate an existing application to the Azure cloud.
Continuing on my Volantis experience, in my next blog, I would describe the technical architecture of the Ubik.com application on Azure.

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