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Retailer Asos sizes up Microsoft Azure to put APIs in the cloud

Online fashion retailer, Asos, is assessing how Microsoft's Azure cloud service could be used to expose mobile data application programming interfaces, which would enable it to extend its reach through mash-ups.

Daniel West, IT director, Asos, has established an IT strategy to build for the cloud first, rather than on-premise. "We look at the cloud first and build if nothing is available."

Daniel West said: "My technology design is to support our international growth. So we need to look at delivery through the cloud."

For West, the big benefits of Azure are disaster recovery, which is inherent in a cloud platform, and its ability to act as a content delivery network to speed up delivery of web pages around the world.

He sees cloud computing will boost software development at Asos. "Software development is a good fit for the cloud." It allows testers to replicate a production environment for testing, which would be prohibitive, without the flexible IT available in the cloud.

He said: "Browsing needs to be very quick but the check-out process needs to be very secure." To comply with PCI-DSS credit card payment regulations, the transaction side of Asos runs on-premise.

Asos has a strategic plan to use Azure in the public and private cloud. West intends to move the Asos .net applications to the Azure API.

From West's experience, IT directors need to ensure their networks that connect to the cloud are resilient, which will certainly add to the cost of any cloud project. He said: "For our global distribution centre we use two networks running in opposite directions as well as a line-of-sight radio link."


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