Interview with Joanne Lang, Founder and CEO of AboutOne.
Web site: www.aboutone.com.
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
Founder and CEO.
What is your company’s mission?
Our mission is to have AboutOne become the global de facto standard for family organization tools. (AboutOne’s online organizing game turns your phone into a remote control for your life. Enhancing your existing calendar and contact tools, it gives you fast, easy access to the information you need to take care of your family and home. Now, getting organized, saving time and being prepared is fun with AboutOne guiding and rewarding you along the way.)
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
AboutOne enhances calendar & contact tools to provide fast access to paperwork you need to take care of your family, contacts & possessions.
Tell us about your Azure based solution.
AboutOne’s minimum viable product was built with Ruby on Rails and MySQL using Engine Yard to deploy to an Amazon EC2 cloud. In January 2012 we began migration from our current architecture to Azure.
How is Azure implemented in your solution?
We have three distributed environments (Development, QA, and Production) that support parallel development and support. We have an MVC 3 site, using the Razor view engine. AboutOne has a service-oriented architecture using an SQL Azure server and CQRS design pattern, implemented on the Azure message queue, using a dispatcher system for the queue handling. We leverage Blob storage for attachments and Table storage for data. We built our own secure token service to leverage Windows Identity Foundation, and in the future, we will be leveraging Windows Federated login for our shareable(s) access. We are using Web roles for the MVC website and a Web role for our REST based API (for the mobile applications). The Worker role is being used to handle background processing.
How did you get excited about Azure?
We first heard of Microsoft’s Azure cloud when they presented at VentureBeat DEMO Spring 2011.
Microsoft’s Platform as a Service, including automated load balancing, persistent storage, a dashboard for system monitoring, and automated backups, allowed our developers to focus on developing our application rather than managing the environment. The reasons we migrated from Amazon are highlighted below:
What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?
What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Make sure you have a mentor company – someone who has done this before to share tips and tricks. Ensure you have both Azure specific skills in the areas of architecture, security design and code deployment. Take full advantage of TFS to manage your development projects.
What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?
There is a learning curve but we believe it is worth the investment in the long term to gain scalability and optimal performance. Leverage your relationship with Microsoft – they have invested in this platform and support your success.
We are releasing our Windows Phone companion app this month. AboutOne Family Organizer turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your calendar and contact tools to give you fast and easy access to the information you need to take care of your family and home.
Get Organized - Use AboutOne to instantly organize memories and milestones, plus health, possessions, and education events and paperwork.
Save Time - Use your phone to quickly and easily upload receipts and other paperwork, photos, videos, artwork, and notes to your account so this information is organized and available, whenever you need it.
Be Prepared - Keep your family safe with quick access to your emergency information, both online and offline.
AboutOne has been featured by ABC News, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and PC Magazine, and recognized as the ultimate organizational tool that provides a private, secure application to help organize home life.