There is a furniture store not far from me with a large advertisement out the front: ‘We deliver furniture, not boxes’. The store owner has learned that a new couch buyer wants to sit and get comfortable much more than they want to assemble parts on the floor. I’ve always been happy to assemble my own furniture – lining up the tools, opening the packets, reading the instructions, enjoying the process. I do recognize that many others do not share my happiness to tinker and build and prefer a life free of toolboxes, instructions and piles of discarded packing material.
Many people feel the same way about their software. Some like to carefully weigh the options, research optimal configuration, and put it together understanding and enjoying the process. Others want their site delivered instantly, completely configured and ready to polish. Software vendors have always known this and go to great lengths to streamline, simplify and reduce the installation procedure. But refining your installation procedure will never be as good as doing away with it altogether.
No Installation (And Delivery Included)
One of the key features of Evoq in the Cloud is the instant on experience. The meaning is simple – there is no installation required – when the order is placed, the site is created and delivered to the customer. The customer can start to configure the site straight away – to install extensions, skins and to modify content. They do not have to create databases, set file system permissions, select the right software packages. In short, they do not have to sit on the floor with an allen key, a set of instructions and a growing pile of packing foam.
We at DNN love showing people the instant-on capability. You can see it for yourself – just go and request an Evoq Content trial. It uses the same instant-on technology that is used for Evoq in the Cloud sites. Set your stopwatch – the average time to delivery is about 30 seconds. Since the launch of Evoq in the Cloud, curious people have been asking how it is done.
There really is no secret. Mass production of Cloud sites is no different than mass production of any item, from cars to computers. It is a combination of automation and inventory.
The automation part is courtesy of Windows Azure itself. It has the capability of being programmed to be a self-replicating environment. You can automate worker roles to create other worker roles. While you wouldn’t want to create a self-replicating system that would grow at an exponential rate, you can certainly design a system capable of creating other systems. Evoq in the cloud uses a provisioning system that can automatically assemble DNN sites and assign them to a customer. This includes creating the database, allocating the file storage, provisioning the cloud devices, putting it all together, installing DNN and even creating a user account ready for the customer to log in.
You might wonder how this achieved. I can share with you that it's not a trivial problem to solve. The DNN Cloud Team Team built an automated installer. It’s a pretty cool thing to witness – if only you could peer through a Perspex window and witness it in action like a 3D printer. But automation is not just about saving time – it’s about accuracy and quality. Modern cars are built by robots not just because they are fast and efficient, but because they don’t make mistakes or get a case of the Mondays and overlook things. Each Evoq in the Cloud site comes out of the provisioning factory in perfect condition and ready to go.
That covers the automation part.
The Cloud: An Ever-Expandable Inventory
The next is inventory. In order to keep up a smooth supply of products to customers, businesses must keep inventory on hand. And that’s exactly how instant-on is delivered. There is an inventory of cloud sites idling away waiting to be assigned to customers. When an order comes in, a new Evoq Content or Evoq Social site is assigned to the customer and the busy automation robots fire into action and start building a new one to replace it. And the best thing is, the cloud provides expandable inventory, so supply scales to meet demand.
I remember when I ordered my first hosting to build my first DNN site. I submitted a form to the hosting provider and there was a delay – I can’t recall precisely how long it was – but I remember wondering how automated their system was. Obviously they didn’t have an engineer running around unpacking boxes and plugging in a new server just for me. Then again the whole process took too long to be automatic. They would have had a pool of empty hosting spaces, and some type of script to assign that space to me. I will never know how much was manual and how much was automated. But there was enough time to start wondering.
With Evoq in the Cloud – there’s no need to wonder, and no time to ponder. Thanks to Instant On, your Evoq site is ready as soon as you want it.