PaySpace gets unprecedented scalability, security, disaster recovery, and automation thanks to Azure.
PaySpace is an award-winning, true cloud-based Payroll and Human Capital Management software provider, with an unrivalled global footprint which includes 40 African countries.
“PaySpace was born in the cloud. From the very beginning, 20-odd years ago, we developed and built our software on the latest technology stack, allowing us to pioneer cloud-based payroll and HCM.
We used to host our product on our own servers and managed the servers ourselves. At the time, Azure did not yet have data centres in South Africa, so our customers’ data needed to reside in South Africa. When Azure services finally launched in South Africa, we immediately started planning and implementing a project dedicated to migrating all our software and data from being hosted on-premises to being hosted in Azure. This allowed for unprecedented scalability, security, disaster recovery, and automation.
Our company has always made use of cloud business tools to run our organization. This forethought made the transition to working from home a very easy one for us.”
We decided to fully commit and host our entire software development and live environments on Microsoft Azure. We did not want to just utilize Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) as we no longer wanted to expend the resources needed to maintain the operating system and additional add-ons, such as anti-virus. We therefore had to spend 18 months planning what Platform as a Service (PAAS) we could leverage off, always keeping disaster recovery at the forefront of discussions and planning. We are now utilizing mainly PAAS services in Azure to host our products and services.
With a combination of self-teaching and the knowledge and skills we acquired through writing the Azure tests in the planning phase, we managed to successfully plot our migration path over a 1-year period. During this time, we were grateful to have received a plethora of invaluable help and support from Microsoft.
The main Azure services we consume are:
1) SQL Hyperscale
2) App Services
3) Service Bus
4) Redis Cache
5) Storage Accounts
6) Application insights
7) Virtual Machines
8) Application gateway
The move to Azure allowed us to simplify our continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes from DevOps to our UAT, Staging and Production environments.
Previously, when our servers were still on-premises, we used to only release our UAT code to the UAT environment every night. The move to Azure allowed us to build and release to the UAT environment on every check-in without any downtime. This enabled a faster turnaround time on tasks for the QA team, which resulted in more modules being rolled out faster, and fewer threads between the Development team and the QA team members.
The robust CI/CD processes also allowed us to release required hotfixes to our live environment without downtime, again thanks to the built-in functionality of slots and DevOps. We found ourselves spending less time on build and release problems and more time on developing customer-centric solutions.
The above-mentioned benefits aside, three words come to mind in the Azure hosting section: security, scalability and disaster management.
1. With Microsoft managing the first security layer, you no longer need to worry about things like DDoS attacks and firewalls. Utilizing applications like the application gateway give us a “plug and play” web application firewall. Our infrastructure management has since become far more streamlined.
2. PaySpace has variable traffic flow depending on the time of the day, week and even month. Utilizing Azure products and services enabled us to automate scale rules throughout the light and heavy traffic flows, based on a custom set of rules. Doing this saves us money in the hosting and allows for automatic scale sets without any service interruption, ensuring we can consistently deliver on one of our most important system ethos: providing our customers access to a fast payroll and HCM product at any time of the month.
3. In any case of a disaster, PaySpace previously had a data loss time interval of 5 minutes with our on-premises solutions. When we moved to Azure, our DR data loss time interval went down to 0-5 seconds. Not only do we now have near real time database backups, but our process to shift over to our DR environment is also far more efficient.
For the future we are also planning to get:
"With Azure constantly launching new products and services, we are making sure we keep up to date with any new developments/releases so we can constantly implement new solutions that enable us to deliver on our promise of providing an even faster product to our customers. We also adopt new releases into our software to deliver a powerful true cloud offering to our customers. Azure also enabled us to speed up our international roll-out, as we will be hosting data in Brazilian data centres soon. This will allow us to cater for more customers in international regions with a unified solution."
Clyde van Wyk, PaySpace Founder & Director.