How A Media Company Cashed In On Windows Azure
Microsoft claims to have more than 41,000 cloud partners. But who are they, and which ones are truly profitable? I don’t have all the answers. In some ways, I think Microsoft’s numbers are inflated. But some anecdotal success stories are starting to merge. A key example: VRX Studios, a full-service photography company, has completely transformed its business using Windows Azure.
The story starts back in 2009, when VRX Studios — which serves 10,000 hotel clients — needed to replace an antiquated digital asset management system (DAMS). At the time, the system needed to handle 30 terabytes of data. Instead of partnering up for a solution, VRX Studios created its own DAMS — called MediaValet — running on Windows Azure.
In some ways, I think the VRX Studios-MediaValet story applies to VARs and MSPs that are looking to reinvent their on-premise services as cloud services.
VRX Studios claims that building MediaValet on Windows Azure and bringing it to market was 50 percent cheaper and faster than under the traditional software and on-premises model. Today, according to a spokeswoman, MediaValet is a standalone product available to all types of companies. The interesting twist: MediaValet is expected to surpass the success of VRX Studios within the next three years, according to the company spokeswoman.
But how do VRX Studios and MediaValet measure success? Annual revenues? Profits?
I hope to speak with David MacLaren, president and CEO of VRX Studios and MediaValet, within the next few days — once I hit a few other deadlines. If you have questions for MacLaren about his bet on Windows Azure feel free to post a comment or email me (joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com).
In the meantime, I remain skeptical of some Microsoft numbers. Yes, it may be factually accurate for Microsoft to say it has 41,000 cloud partners. But how many of those partners actually support more than a dozen businesses and more than a few dozen end-users? My guess: Only a few hundred partners are in that category.
Still, I’m a long-term believer in Windows Azure. The VRX Studios story is one example of a company moving into a completely new business — thanks to the cloud. We’ll be sure to offer insights from MacLaren as soon as we coordinate our schedules.