Reasons why we decided for Azure to host Webmium.com
When we started the process of developing Webmium, our guided do-it-yourself website creation solution, we were first faced with the simple question: where do we put this application? We considered different approaches and services, but ended up stepping back a little and being creative. This started by returning to the basic question: what makes an application really pleasurable to work with?
There are the easy answers to this question, a nice user interface and an application that accomplishes valuable tasks, but we came to focus on the challenge of speed and the role that plays in making an application effective, interesting, and even a pleasure to work with.
This is based on the concept that when you want to do something, there is a pretty powerful force that is moving you forward to accomplish the task, now. You want to do it now , you don’t want to wait for it to happen. This is especially the case for small business applications. Owners already have enough on their plate and don’t have time to wade through every aspect of an application to get the result they want. Users want both the information and functionality they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As a result we selected Microsoft’s cloud solution called Azure to host the main portions of our application. This allows us to offer users high speed access to our application by having the properly scaled amount of server space and servers that are geographically nearby, thanks to Azure’s network of data centers around the globe.
I don’t want to talk About Cloud Computing in general, it’s a rather over used buzz-word, or Azure itself. Instead I’d like to discuss one piece of it that has been important to the development of Webmium’s state of the art application: Azure’s Content Delivery Network (CDN).
The Content Delivery Network (any CDN) enhances this process in a simple way. One file is located on different places on the earth, but looks as one instance to the outside world.
When browser requests the file, the network itself is smart and figures out closest location and serves it to you from it. If you’re in Vienna you’ll get it from servers near Vienna, thus the data doesn’t need to travel across the globe. If you’re in New York, you’ll get it from servers near New York, again getting it quickly. The best part is developers don’t have to do anything to gain this advantage. The Azure CDN distributes the files across globe automatically and chooses best location without any additional work.
Because the security of your files is also important, all files are, by default, set up as private. Nobody can access it, until it’s done via your site or admin panel. When somebody accesses the file, the request contains a digital signature. Only requests with valid signature are served; nobody else (i.e.,attackers) can access these files. This digital signature is created by Webmium infrastructure internally and is valid only for very limited amount of time.
What does this all mean for you and more importantly for visitors of your site? Simply speaking the pages of your website will appear in the browsers of visitors much faster and the complete experience will be more frictionless. The technology works how the best technology should, so the average visitor barely even notices it, they simply have the benefit- and pleasure- of interacting with an extremely fast and responsive website
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