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The Cloud Changed Us

For the last few months, Northwest Cadence has been going through a transformation of sorts. You’ve come to know us as your partner in process improvement and ALM, specifically around agile transformation and developing a modern and mature software development practice. We’ve likely helped you move from more traditional software development practices to agile ones, or we may have helped you implement a continuous integration / continuous delivery pipeline. We’ve also helped many of you find ways to use Team Foundation Server beyond source code management, whether it’s leveraging the requirements management features, build automation, or manual test case management. We’ve even worked with many of you to develop an automated deployment pipeline using tools such as Microsoft Release Management.

Well, that’s just the beginning of our story.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen enterprises make a push into the cloud. Potential cost reductions in infrastructure, management of resources, and administration help offset the cost of migrating to the cloud. And Microsoft has chosen to focus its resources on Azure, leading to an explosive growth of functionality and capability.   In fact, Azure is one of three products Microsoft is focusing on (see this article from Microsoft’s CEO for more information). Understanding how Azure’s cloud services are relevant to an organization’s application lifecycle practices has become our obsession. Over the last 2 years, we have become passionate advocates for Azure as a core part of an organization’s ALM practices.

As you know, our focus has always been ‘people, process, tools’. We believe that the success of your ALM practices is about the delivery of value to your customer. That mission requires a balanced approach of understanding how to train and manage your team, understanding how to apply the right processes and practices, and knowing which tools you should use.

We believe that there are many varieties of ‘healthy’ development teams. We also believe that teams should constantly evaluate their practices and processes as well as the tools they are using to deliver the best value to their customers. Part of this evaluation is looking at Azure with a critical eye to understand how its various offerings can improve what you are delivering and how you are delivering it.

Over the last few months we have written weekly articles on various Azure technologies and how you can apply them to your ALM practices. There are articles on Azure DevTest and DevOps, machine learning, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, disaster recovery, Platform-as-a-Service, Release Management, and much more. We’ve written these articles with an eye towards being fun, engaging, and educational. Our goal is to make challenging concepts easy-to-understand and to provide you a way to understand how to apply these Azure technologies in your day-to-day ALM practices. You can find our articles on the Northwest Cadence blog.

We believe the cloud, and specifically Azure, has tools and functionality that will make it much easier for you to improve your DevTest and DevOps practices. You will find that self-provisioned development environments can be fairly easy to add to your DevTest/DevOps practices. With PowerShell, DSC, Puppet, and Chef, you’ve now made these self-provisioned environments standardized. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We believe that Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) can put your application on the road to modernization in a way that keeping it on-premise won’t. PaaS doesn’t have the infrastructure management requirements that your on-premise infrastructure does, so you can focus your resources on what you do best – build applications. PaaS can put you in a mindset where you will start decoupling your code to take advantage of the power PaaS can bring you. PaaS isn’t a silver bullet, but we’ve found it a powerful vehicle for evolving our software architecting practices. We really want you to share our enthusiasm over the possibilities.

We are excited about what Azure can do for modernizing application lifecycle practices. We are equally excited to help others discover how Azure can revolutionize their ALM practices. Our passion with helping teams improve their processes, practices, and tools hasn’t change. Instead, we’ve discovered how cloud technologies can radically improve how an organization can deliver value to their customers, and we want to help you discover that too.

Maybe you aren’t sure if Azure is right for you, or maybe you would like strategic guidance around the implementation of Azure. Maybe you aren’t sure how to begin using Azure resources, or maybe you think your software is so legacy it isn’t worth the hassle of moving it to the cloud. No matter what, we would like to be part of that conversation and come alongside you on that journey.

Please reach out to for more information!


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  • BraveHeart Wallace

    I am surprised when I read about the cloud and the words cost effective in the same article. The cloud is not cost effective.

  • First, thanks for reading the article!

    I think you bring up a good point – organizations need to evaluate the cost of using Azure resources before jumping in! We definitely have customers that have done an analysis and have determined that moving resources to the cloud is not cost effective for their particular needs, but we have many customers that have determined that it does make sense. I can’t speak for all companies, of course. Each organizations data center costs are going to be impacted by variables that differ from company to company. For example, Apple is building out their own solar farms to help offset the cost of electricty (and provide a tax shelter), thus lowering the overall cost of their data centers. A small organization may not be able to afford the high costs of managing their own redundant and scalable data centers, so moving to Azure may make sense.

    Of course, data centers and virtual machine management are just one area of cost that should be evaluated. I propose that organizations consider the costs of transitioning their web apps from their internally managed infrastructure to PaaS, where infrastructure requires much less administration. We have done that ourselves and after doing quite a bit of tweaking, discovered a recipe that is quite a bit cheaper for much better performance.

    And we certainly work with many organization that have done the analysis and determined that the costs of Azure is much less than the cost of continuously managing onsite infrastructure and building out redundant data centers for disaster recovery.

    Of course, I paint this with a colorful brush. Your mileage may vary.

    Good luck!

  • BraveHeart Wallace


    I am impressed that you took time to respond to me. I enjoy your posts.
    Kent Wallace
    425 306 8327