StratoGen has recently been approcached by a number of ISVs looking for ways to offer cost effective trials of their server based software applications. We all know that the best way to get prospects hooked on your product or service is to let them try it, preferably for free. Once they have experienced your product first hand, they are much more likely to convert into a paying customer. But we also know that conducting these trials can be expensive and in these tough times we all need to minimise our cost of sale.
So the team at StratoGen set about thinking of new & innovative ways to do this with the platform and tools that we already have in place. Here’s where StratoGen VMware Hosting with vCloud Director comes in.
The most recent requirement was to be able to automatically spin up a trial VM instance with the ISV application on it, and for the trial to automatically expire after a defined period.
The solution was this:
- Create a ‘Pay As You Go’ (PAYG) Virtual Datacentre on the StratoGen VMware Hosting platform – PAYG customers pay for resources by the hour as they are consumed.
- Set the Runtime & Storage leases to the required software trial length, as defined by the ISV (this can be set to as short as 1 hour)
- Create a vApp template containing a Virtual Machine pre loaded with the ISV application
- Call on the vCloud API to deploy the trial machine from the vApp Template (eg from a web signup form)
- Pull IP address information for the deployed VM out of the vCloud API and pass this back to the trialist so they can access the VM with the trial software on it
With the Runtime & Storage leases set to the required trial length, the trial VM will automatically power off and be deleted when the lease expires, thus minimising the cost of the trial for the ISV.
In this particular scenario, a trial VM needed 2 x vCPU, 4GB RAM and 50GB storage. The ISV wanted their trial to last for 2 hours just to give their customers a taste.
The cost of the infrastructure for this trial – just over US$1!
A neat solution requiring little or no custom integration, other than a little development into the vCloud API.
If you like the sound of this, there is plenty of documentation on the vCloud API which you can find on VMware’s website here
And of course if you want to test vCloud API integration you can do so with a StratoGen VMware Hosting 7 Day Free Trial