An Integrated Solution
Imagine a world in which websites lived in a vacuum and couldn’t talk to other business systems or even other websites. What if Amazon.com was built so that you could browse their product listings, but if you wanted to order anything you needed to go to another website, and if you wanted to track your order you had to login to yet another site. What if Amazon.com administrators had to download all the order requests every day and then upload them to another order fulfillment site. How many people would be ordering from Amazon? How many IT people would want to be the one tasked with handling the daily order fulfillment process?
Sadly, when I look around the hosting industry this is exactly what is expected of customers. At a typical hosting company you can expect to have three or more different web applications, and possibly a desktop application as well, that you must manage as part of running your website. There is the hosting control panel for managing the hosting infrastructure, there is an email management system, and there is of course the CMS that you use for your website. These are just a few examples, and of course there may be more depending on your particular hosting provider.
The problem is that the simple task of running a website has been made extremely complex due to the number of accounts and applications that you must manage. This may not seem too bad if you are a developer or IT guru who understands how to use all of these applications. For everyone else, this is just one more hassle that you weren’t looking for. You just want to setup a website. Why should it be so difficult?
When we started looking at offering DNN in the cloud, we knew that we wanted to do something different – we wanted to follow the SaaS model where you have a single location from which you can manage your entire website experience. If you want to manage your customer account – you go to your DNN website. If you want to create a backup or restore your website – you go to your DNN website. If you want to upgrade to the latest DNN version, ftp some files up or even spin up a staging site to test out some new module – you go to your DNN website. As a DNN user, you are accustomed to managing your entire site from within DNN and we felt it was important that you should have the same experience when running DNN in the cloud.
The DNN Platform has a great extensibility model. In building out DNN in the cloud, we leveraged several extensibility points to provide an integrated experience which fully leverages Windows Azure and our Cloud Management System.
The first and most obvious extension we created was a brand new control panel. Our cloud control panel provides a single point of access for customers to access all of our cloud features. If you need to backup your site, upgrade to a new version, FTP files up to your site, or access any other cloud feature, you can do all of that from your cloud control panel. Just login to your Evoq in the Cloud site and everything is right there ready to use.
In addition to the obvious integration that occurs in the control panel, we also have included extensions that operate under the cover to take advantage of Windows Azure. DNN has long supported the ability to cache data in memory in order to improve system performance. For our cloud platform we created a custom cloud caching provider that leverages Windows Azure Cache to provide improved caching performance.
The exciting part about the new caching provider is that as you scale the number of instances in your site up or down, the caching provider automatically reconfigures itself to adjust to the current number of running instances. There is no configuration required by the user which is very different from our on premise caching options.
Some companies may get excited about offering yet another set of tools for managing your DNN installation. At DNN Corp. we get excited about offering a simple integrated solution which makes it easy to run and manage your DNN site. With Evoq in the Cloud, you have instant access to a great set of tools without any of the complexity. Don’t take my word for it. Sign up for a new trial of Evoq Social or Evoq Content in the Cloud and see how powerful an integrated solution can be.
Read the full series on Building DNN as a Service
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Trials
Part 3 – Integrated Solutions
Part 4 – Power and Simplicity