Pottermore, new Harry Potter website, that J.K. Rolling unveiled last year on June 24, is now using Windows Azure to scale up to 1B page views. After, the last novel of the Harry Potter series, Rowling, decided to build a website as a way to give back to her fans, who have purchased "more than 450 million books and 5 billion movie tickets since the first Harry Potter book was released in 1997."
With Harry Potter one of the largest entertainment phenomena of all time, fans of all ages couldn't wait to experience the world-famous stories, social, and interactive experiences offered on Pottermore (www.pottermore.com). "Within hours, thousands of Harry Potter fans were flooding the site and just two weeks after the Pottermore website went live, it received one billion page views, making it one of the most popular sites on the Web," Microsoft posted.
To date, "10 million unique visitors have visited the site, with 25,000 new users signing up every day."
"To accommodate the massive demand, Pottermore built the website on Windows Azure, an open cloud platform that enables users to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers."
Another factor in favor of Azure, is that it provided a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which means that Pottermore could simply move its application onto the Azure platform without the burden of managing and maintaining virtual machines, according to Julian Thomas, chief technology officer at Pottermore.
Azure also provided a cloud-based testing environment that enabled Pottermore to test whether the site could scale up to meet massive demand. "Elasticity was critical," Thomas says. "We knew there were between 2 million and 20 million Harry Potter fans who were waiting to get on the site, and we had to be ready."
In addition to massive scalability, Azure offers organizations the agility they need to develop new applications very quickly, Bob Kelly, cvp of Windows Azure Marketing at Microsoft says. And with the new services Microsoft announced, they'll now have the flexibility required to build applications that can run both in the cloud and on-premise.
Here's how the site has fared since it went live on April 14:
- Pottermore attracted 1 billion page views in a little over two weeks
- More than 10 million unique users to date have visited the site
- The average user visits 43 pages and spends 20 minutes on the site
- Nearly 3 million users have completed the journey across Pottermore
- The site continues to attract 25,000 new account sign-ups daily
In other Microsoft news,
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chooses Microsoft Office 365 for e-mail and collaboration in the cloud.
"In its effort to empower personnel to work more efficiently and collaboratively, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has chosen to deploy a CSC cloud productivity solution based on Microsoft Office 365, encompassing e-mail messaging, calendaring, instant messaging and webconferencing," Microsoft wrote.
As the contract prime, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) will lead the cloud implementation, which will provide 60,000 FAA employees and 20,000 DOT employees with access to email, instant messaging, calendaring and webconferencing tools with robust security from virtually any device.
Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group gives you Mayhem. "Mayhem is an open source Windows application that lets pretty much anyone 'program' their computer to do stuff automatically across all their devices," posted Microsoft.
What can you do with it?
- Pause a video automatically when you leave the room.
- Update your Facebook status when the weather changes.
- Use your smartphone to control your PowerPoint presentation.
- Switch an appliance on or off with your smartphone…or your voice!
Watch the video below, and Head to makemayhem.com to download and try it out.