By Tim Greene, Network World (US) | Feb 9, 2012
G4S runs fleets of armored vehicles in 70 countries, and in seven of those is switching its eViper tracking application into the Azure cloud, starting with Cyprus but expanding to the others over the next four months, says Richard Wallace, the company's technical director for its Cash Solutions division.
The company specifically rewrote the application, called eViper, from Progress to .NET just so it could deploy it somewhere in the cloud as a way to save money, but also to make the application centrally available.
It considered using Amazon Web Services as well as Azure, seeking strong uptime guarantees, high availability and the ability to mirror the application in two cloud data centers for failover should the primary instance fail. Amazon Web Services quickly dropped out of contention because it couldn't offer what G4S wanted, he says.
The failover G4S has worked out with Azure takes 15 to 20 minutes as the application is shifted from an Azure data center in Ireland to one in Amsterdam. G4S had to write the failover code itself because Microsoft didn't offer it at the time, Wallace says.
He says he had a checklist of 170 points about security concerns and that he satisfied them using Microsoft documentation about its service and third-party evaluations of Microsoft's infrastructure. He was offered a site visit to the Ireland data center but didn't go.
He says he is not concerned that his data will be mixed with that of other customers. Since the data involved isn't personal data such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, it doesn't fall under more restrictive security standards.
"With the security I'm seeing in Azure [applications are] as secure in the cloud as at my managed service provider," he says.