Construction controllers and CFOs might be curious about the technology behind Sage Construction Anywhere, (SCA) the new cloud offering from Sage Construction and Real Estate. In this article I look at the platform on which SCA is built, Microsoft Windows Azure.
On the Sage Construction Anywhere website I found this description:
“Sage Construction Anywhere is an easy-to-use, cloud-based service that gives you instant access to real-time project information anytime, anywhere from web-enabled tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices.”
On the same site Sage also says a little about the technological foundation of the product:
“Sage Construction Anywhere is built upon Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud services platform, Microsoft® Windows Azure™. As the industry standard application hosting platform, it ensures the highest available levels of data integrity and confidentiality.”
I was curious about Windows Azure, so I did a little research. I found that there are three major players offering cloud services platforms. The platforms are Amazon AWS, Google App Engine and Microsoft Windows Azure. Microsoft’s Azure seems to be an excellent match for Sage Construction Anywhere.
Microsoft says, “Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters… And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment. Azure’s messaging capabilities enable hybrid solutions that run across a cloud and on-premises enterprise environment.”
Sage takes advantage of those capabilities to integrate Sage Construction Anywhere with your existing IT environment and your Sage Timberline Office application and data. That means that SCA gives you cloud-based operational functionality without scrapping your existing back-office systems, a big plus for Sage CRE customers.
Azure is scalable, which means that as demand for Sage Construction Anywhere services changes, the computing resources needed to support the application can be easily adjusted accordingly. That means you get rapid response times regardless of the time of day or year. Windows Azure promises 99.95% uptime.
Azure has less complexity to manage than Amazon AWS or Google App Engine, which gives Sage more time to work on newer versions of Sage Construction Anywhere software instead of managing cloud infrastructure. You get more features sooner.
Azure integrates more tightly with Microsoft technologies than the other platforms, making it a good fit for a Windows based product like Sage Timberline. It all works together.
The technology blogs I searched agree that Azure is a more managed environment. Amazon AWS is more open and complex. They confirm that Azure includes a secure bridge to on-premise applications and is better suited for integration with MS technologies. The price is similar. From what I can see, Sage CRE chose the right cloud services platform.