Yesterday’s big news story is that Microsoft has announced the pricing model of Windows Azure, its new cloud services platform.
This is an exciting development and I think ORF could benefit greatly from cloud storage various ways (though I understand my ethusiasm is certainly not shared by you :).
The most obvious way to use Azure is to move ORF databases into the cloud, saving plenty of time (and money) setting up and administering SQL Server, while having the same benefits of a secure, reliable, shareable database. Private Local Databases of ORF can do a pretty good job until you reach a certain email volume (about 50,000 per day), when switching to an External Database becomes a necessity. External Databases are also required when you have multiple ORF servers. This is where Azure could help: once subscribed, ORF could create and maintain its databases in Microsoft’s cloud without your assistance.
Calculating the costs is not easy as it scales with use, but at around 100,000 emails you’d probably still get a database below 1Gb ($9.99), transmitting less than 1Gb data per month ($0.10 + $0.15) with about a million transactions for all ORF tables (about $1 for transaction requests). The total is only $11.24 per month or $134.88 per year. That is still quite compelling if you check Microsoft SQL Server 2008 pricing or just think about the time taken by the SQL Server setup and administration.