Pottermore and Windows Azure

The Harry Potter series started small but 10 years later the books were long and intricate. So in parallel, Pottermore, a website devoted to the Harry Potter phenomenon, went on line recently and has has about one billion page views. To make this website volatile, the Pottermore web site is under the guise of Microsoft’s Windows Azure, the Cloud service.


OK size matters. Beside the one billion hits,  making it one of the most popular sites on the Web there are 10 million unique visitors to date that have visited the site, with 25,000 new users signing up every day. Initially,  the site went on-line in beta in July 2011, using Windows Server, but Pottermore had problems due to its large fan base. It was necessary to enact a different solution to meet the needs of its growing fan base. The demand for the site and the way people interacted with it changed expectations.  Too much was happening;  the server technology that was in place did not match up. A change was necessary.


In order to accommodate the Pottermore website  the Azure Cloud service provided a platform-as-a-service (PaaS).  This means that the Pottermore tech staff could simply move the application onto the Windows Azure platform without having to deal with the burden of managing and maintaining virtual machines.


Another factor was important: Testing.  Windows Azure provided a cloud-based testing environment to see if  the Pottermore Azure Website could scale up to meet massive demand.  At the time of the implementation, they knew there were between 2 million and 20 million Harry Potter fans who were waiting to get on the site; it had to be ready. It’s been on-line now for several weeks.

So far the website has not had a glitch. The scalability features have succeeded in keeping the site intact and growing. The PaaS application capabilities of Windows Azure, gave Pottermore the focus needed for the application. It was able to scale to immense levels in a short amount of time.

Source: Microsoft

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