I’m building a SaaS application for a niche industry. The application is architectured so that each subscriber gets their own instance of the application (to allow for customisations, for example). This is basically a copy of the website files (ASP.NET MVC stuff) and a SQL Database. Simple enough.
I’m considering moving over to Windows Azure – my hardware colocation costs have been rising (about £450GBP a month now, and then there’s the cost of acquiring new hardware, as well as the time required to manage everything). Windows Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service presents a considerable cost-savings not only in monetary terms but also in time I don’t have to spend doing server housekeeping (or messing around with Dell’s outsoured support team when a motherboard dies).
Remember, I’m talking about the PaaS service, I’m not interested in using VMs, because that has the same housekeeping trouble as physical servers.
Now then, one service I am/was considering offering my customers was also web hosting and Hosted Exchange. Both of these services were to be offered from my colocated hardware, but with Azure without VMs I don’t have the ability to create arbitrary websites in IIS.
Windows Azure does provide simple web-hosting services and I could use that to sell web-hosting to my end-users, but I can’t find any resources online that say if that’s allowed by Microsoft.
As for Hosted Exchange – Microsoft doesn’t offer Exchange-on-Azure (unless you bring your SPLA license to a VM running Exchange), but if I’m going in that direction I might as well ditch self-management entirely and just resell a white-label Hosted Exchange service.
Going back to websites, does anyone know if I can directly charge other people to create/manage Azure Websites on their behalf?