Interesting Case Study of LAMP Application moved to VS and .NET

Ran across a case study with some very interesting quotes. This case study is from Earth Class Mail. Check out some of the comments:


  • Saved U.S.$750,000 and six months on development
  • Scales to support business growth
  • Enables mobile solution with managed code

Fastest Time To Market

“Visual Studio offered us the most compelling development environment,” says Matt Davis, Senior Software Architect, Earth Class Mail. “It offered the fastest time-to-market. And we could use it to create a solution that was fully scalable, serving our needs for years to come.”…

Killer Features in .NET

LINQ to SQL enables developers to create data-driven Web sites more productively, without the need to write stored procedures. “WCF and LINQ to SQL seemed like a couple of ‘killer’ features we wouldn’t get elsewhere,” says Davis…

FREE does not mean ZERO costs

By adopting Microsoft software for its solution, Earth Class Mail cut time-to-market in half and saved $750,000 on development. Now, the company is seeing continuing savings in reduced maintenance costs, can better protect its intellectual property, and can more easily extend the solution with managed code…

Comparing Windows To Linux, and considering the bigger picture

Although Earth Class Mail originally chose a Linux-based solution because of what it thought was a lower cost, the company’s current solution, based on Microsoft software, is the real cost-saver, according to Isaac.

“We were comparing Windows to Linux on the basis of licensing, but once you’re big enough to have employees, licensing costs are negligible,” he says. “Development and maintenance are the real cost issues—and that’s where Microsoft saves us a tremendous amount of money over Linux.”

The single, integrated development environment of Visual Studio accomplishes what Davis, the Senior Software Architect, estimates would require five or more tools in the Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP stack. The integration and coordination challenges involved in using so many tools could easily have doubled the six-month time-to-market that Earth Class Mail experienced with Microsoft, he notes, costing the company an additional $750,000 in development costs.

Beyond the one-time development savings, Isaac sees continuing maintenance savings by choosing Microsoft over Linux. “Because the Microsoft platform is so much easier to maintain, we’re definitely seeing continuing cost savings over Linux,” he says. “We can manage servers remotely more easily with Windows Server and .NET, often eliminating the need to send technicians out into the field that we’d have with Linux. We don’t have to go in and hack around complex Apache configuration files; [Windows Server] Internet Information Services enables us to make adjustments with simple reconfigurations. And maintenance that otherwise would have required a senior—and expensive—person now can be managed by almost anyone in the department. Most maintenance is just ‘click and go.’”


And then utilizing their .NET skills to make a Windows Mobile app

“We developed a custom application for the handheld part of our solution, using Windows Mobile and the .NET Compact Framework,” says Davis. “Being able to do so, and to do it so easily, was a huge win for us. Is there a Linux standard for handhelds? I don’t know. But I do know that Windows Mobile is the best environment for mobile applications. It’s just more .NET code. We compile it, and we have a managed-code solution, extending the return on investment that we made with our original .NET software.”


Organization Profile

Earth Class Mail, based in Seattle, Washington, and with customers in 176 nations, provides the only Internet-powered postal-mail service for individuals, small businesses, enterprises, and national post offices.

Business Situation

The Earth Class Mail solution was first based on Linux, but the company needed to have a highly scalable, cost-effective, and extensible solution to support its continued growth.


The company moved to the Microsoft® environment, building its solution with Microsoft server software, the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2008 development system, and Windows Mobile® 5.0 software.