HRBoss Blog

Optimising our IT Operations at HRBoss

The location of our customer’s data is really important to us at HRBoss.  Our customers often ask, and indeed demand, that the location of their data is well-defined. This could be for many reasons including compliance, data residency or preference of choice. For example, clients often request that, “The central storage location of our application data must stay within China/Japan”. When data in a particular location is geographically closer to our customers, they'll see lower pings and better performance from that provider- so, of course, it is a reasonable request for them to make.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we can cater to these needs. Any of our SaaS platforms can be deployed, literally within minutes, into one of many locations around the world, from any of our portfolio of 4 HR applications.  
Yes- minutes.

Not days.

Not even hours.  
This includes the provisioning of full multi-tiered, multi-tenant shared architectures with Cloud storage, network and compute. Now that several Cloud providers are announcing the addition of new Cloud locations around the world our reach has been increasing by the month! 
One of the ways we achieve this is by restricting our use of proprietary Cloud solutions. Where possible, we solely use the baseline ingredients of server computing; storage, network and compute and build whatever we need on top of these. Since these are provided in more or less the same form in every Cloud service, we can be reasonably sure we can build whatever we like in any Cloud or in any region.  
The next way which enables us to deploy the exact same architecture and configuration into any Cloud we need is with the tools and help of our partner RightScale.  We define all of our infrastructure externally to the Clouds we use. In other words, we abstract away our configurations so they can be applied to any Cloud provider.  This gives us the flexibility to deploy our applications into many different locations, thus keeping our customers happy. 
This also gives us many other added advantages:

  • Our developers and testers can work on the exact same configuration as production
  • Our development process is streamlined such that should we need to create a staging environment, we simply need to clone, tweak & launch our environments.  
  • Our developers and testers can work on the exact same configuration as production.  We also monitor all the essential guest OS parameters like, CPU, RAM, Disk, IO, Swap etc allowing us to see into any and all of our infrastructure.  
  • Alarms can be set to trigger should any of these resources start to run out or push past any defined thresholds.  
  • Not only alarms, but also automation. For example, should one of our volumes start to fill up we can trigger a set of procedures to remove unwanted files from the disks. Or, if we need more capacity, we can automatically add new compute to our environment.  We like to think of this as a kind of automated level-one-support capability, which in turn increases our agility. 

The Cloud brings with it a fundamentally new way of doing IT and at HRBoss, we’re proud to be pushing the envelope for this across Asia. You can work in the Cloud in the traditional sense, but you will certainly fail. We believe there is a much better way, and it is a way of doing things such that we are confident and able to serve our customer’s needs, whatever and wherever they are. 

Article by Stephen Bylo, Cloud Architect at HRBoss