Online video platform eyes scalability with Windows Azure

Movideo, provider of software-as-a-service online video platform, switching to Microsoft's platform-as-a-service to speed up product development and expand business from Asia-Pacific to the world.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Australia-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Movideo is migrating its current Java and Linux stack from a "no name" cloud provider to Microsoft's platform-as-a-service Windows Azure in order to speed up product development and provide price stability for customers, say company executives.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Tony McGinn, CEO of Movideo, said the partnership will allow the company to focus on delivering its business to customers much faster as it would not need to worry about the "plumbing". As part of a four-year deal, Microsoft will also help promote Movideo's service to customers in the media and entertainment sector.

  • Movideo started out as an in-house online video platform for Australian digital media business MCM Entertainment in 2004.
  • The parent company decided to commercialize the service in 2008 by providing it as a cloud-based service.
  • Movideo is currently headed by Tony McGinn, who is also the founder of MCM.

Currently, Movideo's customers include Malaysian satellite television broadcaster Astro, Indonesia media company MNC (Media Nusantara Citra), Australian commercial television network Network 10 and Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, he added.

While Movideo is currently Asia-Pacific focused, McGinn said he hopes to expands the business globally with Windows Azure using Microsoft has various data centers around the world to host the service.

Smooth transition
According to Cameron Moore, CTO of Movideo, the company chose Windows Azure over other cloud service providers because Microsoft provides PaaS which includes tools and services that provided scalability "far beyond the other providers".

On the other cloud providers, he noted that Google's App Engine platform provided some services but he was not aware of any large implementation of online video. He added that while Amazon's product was "excellent", Microsoft provided a competitive level of service.

He forecasted that the migration to Windows Azure would take five months and has so far been "easier than expected" since it started in January. The company's software is based on a Java and Linux platform, he said, adding that "Java is being treated as a first class citizen in the Windows Azure environment".

The main changes for Movideo was to tune its service to be able to use features in Azure such as BLOB (Binary Large Object) storage, CDN (Content Delivery Network) technology and moving away from MySQL to SQL Azure, he said. "With SQL Azure, it takes care of the management of the databases while right now we're responsible for managing them," he explained.

Portability of the program was not a major concern as there are common interfaces between Microsoft SQL servers and SQL Azure, he noted. However, the porting of the data might be a problem as there are "terabytes and terabytes" of data that will need to be shifted, he said.

According to Arun Ulag, general manager of server and tools for Asia-Pacific at Microsoft, PaaS customers are looking for flexibility, whether it is running their programs in their own data centers, hosted data centers or on the Azure data centers.

He noted that Windows Azure provided flexibility through a common development environment with the use of Transact-SQL (T-SQL), common developer tools such as Visual Studios and common identity using Active Directory. All three work both on-premise and in the Azure cloud, he noted.

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