DiscountASP.NET Customer Profile – Liam Cavanagh

Michael PhillipsToday we present a profile of Liam Cavanagh, the founder and CEO of Cotega, a Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) based solution for database administrators (DBA) looking to monitor the performance and health of their cloud hosted SQL Server and SQL Azure databases.

Using Cotega’s web based dashboard, administrators can track of all major aspects of their database and receive notifications when issues occur. Cotega was designed to give DBAs confidence that the database powering their web site is running smoothly.

Hello Liam, thanks for allowing us to do a profile. When did you first become interested in web technologies?

My background is in database administration and over the past 15 years I have worked on the engineering and product teams for many leading databases including SQL Anywhere, SQL Server and SQL Azure.  Over that time I have seen a huge surge in interest from customers looking to leverage cloud based technologies for database hosting.  When I started focusing on hosted database solutions I was surprised that I was not able to find tools available to the DBA optimized to work in this environment.  It was for this reason that I chose to start Cotega and focus on monitoring cloud hosted databases.

Which technologies are you currently using for your web site?

Our service uses:

  • ASP.NET MVC 4.0 using C#, JavaScript, JQuery and HTML5
  • Visual Studio 2010 SP1
  • Windows Azure, Windows Azure Table Store, Windows Azure Queues
  • SQL Azure, SQL Server 208 R2
  • Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)

How long have you hosted your site with DiscountASP.NET?

We have been using DiscountASP.NET since Jan 3, 2012.

Why did you choose DiscountASP.NET as your web hosting solution?

Our service consists of two key components.  The first is a monitoring service that checks a customer’s databases for issues and logs the results or sends notifications to the administrator when needed.  The second component is a Web based dashboard that a DBA uses to define what is to be monitored and analyze the results.  Both of these components were initially built on Windows Azure.    Windows Azure allowed us to ensure that the service was always available which was critical for the monitoring service.

For the web based dashboard, we were looking for a lower cost solution that performed well and allowed us to quickly release updates given how many changes the user interface was going through.  In the end, we chose to build a hybrid of services.  We chose to continue to host the monitoring service on Windows Azure and ported the web based user interface to DiscountASP.NET.  DiscountASP.Net provided us with a low cost solution for hosting as well as simple tools to quickly deploy updates.

Here is a diagram of the architecture:

So there was a benefit to using DiscountASP.NET…

Since our technologies are very Microsoft centric, it is important to us to work with a web hosting solution that is optimized for this environment.  The DiscountASP.Net portal was very easy to use and allowed us to integrate our MVC based application quickly and easily.  The sales and support staff were very easy to work with and had a lot of knowledge of Microsoft technologies that really helped our deployment go smoothly.

What are the future plans for your site? Are you excited about any future technologies or trends that you see on the horizon?

Analysis of “Big Data” in the cloud is one the trends that I find most exciting.  I feel cloud hosting is still very much in its infancy and companies are just now starting to see the value that it brings to them.  The ability to temporarily allocate many machines to provide huge levels of compute is now letting people analyze vast amounts of data in a very short period of time.

Technologies like database sharding where you span your data over multiple databases in a data center as opposed to scaling up a database on a single machine is allowing people to take advantage of multiple CPU’s to quickly retrieve data information, regardless of the amount of data they store.  All of this will require a level of database monitoring that we have not seen before, and this is where we see the future of Cotega.

The public cloud brings a new way of thinking for organizations.  Now it is so much simpler to choose the service that best fits your needs and get these services to work with one another.  When we were building Cotega, we were surprised how easy it was to piece together technologies that best fit our needs to create a “Hybrid” of services.

For example, our email notifications are sent using Amazon SES, the hosting of the monitoring service leverages Windows Azure’s capability to provide easy scaling, load balancing and high-availability and the Web site that the database administrator uses is built on which provides a simple environment optimized to host MVC applications.

All of these components worked incredibly well together and allowed us to keep costs extremely low yet continue to provide a highly available solution to our customers.

Thanks, Liam, for allowing us to do a profile!

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