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“SingleHop's network reachability is well above average, and their reliability between data centers is the best we've experienced. That's a huge benefit for SaaS providers, who necessarily need to be ‘always on.’ ”Paul Kreiner, Infrastructure Engineer, TSheets
TSheets is a SaaS time tracking and scheduling solution that’s helping nearly 20,000 businesses in more than 100 countries improve payroll accuracy.
Custom Dedicated Server Hosting
Millions of American small businesses track their employees hours in spreadsheets or on paper time cards. Such systems are a hassle for employees and routinely become a waking nightmare for owners. Time card inaccuracies too often cause financial and legal woes for organizations already facing razor-thin margins.
TSheets — an Idaho-based SaaS company — was founded in 2006 to improve payroll accuracy, reduce risk for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations, and help small businesses operate smoothly and with transparency. The software offers affordable, slick and intuitive features like GPS-backed employee clock-in and clock-outs, automated alerts, shift scheduling, and integration with popular accounting apps like QuickBooks — saving companies 2-7% on payroll costs.
If their rapid growth and praise from users are any indicator, TSheets is performing as advertised. The company has more than 20,000 customers in more than 100 countries, and the app sports more than 2,000 five-star reviews.
Like any fast-growing SaaS product, the infrastructure powering TSheets in its early years faced a tipping point. To continue economically building their successful platform and adding customers at an exponential rate, TSheets needed greater server resource efficiency and network reliability. They weren’t getting it from their previous multi-tenant, virtual hosting provider, according to TSheets infrastructure engineer, Paul Kreiner.
“We experienced a lot of stolen cycles from other customers, leading to substantial day-to-day variability in the performance of our critical hosts. Our databases also needed higher IOPS than our current provider could offer,” he said. “We also need highly reliable networking, since we’re dealing with real-time interactions with customers. Facebook posts can be delayed by a few seconds and nobody will care, but if someone clocks in, that information needs to be immediately available to all users who subscribe to the information, no matter where they are or how they connect to TSheets.”
TSheets’ solution? A custom dedicated server environment from SingleHop.
On its face, an application like TSheets running in a non-virtualized environment may seem at odds with news headlines touting massive adoption of hyperscale, public cloud environments. Kreiner explained why bare metal was the right route for TSheets.
“Dedicated servers are optimal because we don’t pay a 10 to 15 percent performance penalty off-the-top for virtualizing,” he said. “Unlike a typical IT shop, where most systems sit idle and user traffic is sporadic, our systems sustain high loads for hours on end.”
SingleHop Dedicated Server solutions use enterprise-grade hardware powered by a global network perfectly suited to support scaling applications. Deployments are also customizable, allowing for the complex architecture required by TSheets. Kreiner listed these, and several other areas that ultimately put SingleHop ahead of the competition:
SingleHop’s Bill of Rights SLA is the industry’s only self-monitoring agreement. This means that if benchmark isn’t met, customers can claim an account credit instantly from a real-time report card accessible in the LEAP control panel. The transparency is backed by high quality standards, as well. The SLA provides 100% network and power uptime.
The SLA also guarantees industry-leading minimum support response times. SingleHop’s Service First professionals are available 24/7 to respond to critical issues, which can be escalated to a senior staff member within 90 minutes, if required.
“If servers are down, I want to call or email somebody right now,” said Kreiner “Even if I never use that option, I want to have it available.”
TSheets shipped its own 1TB SSD Drives to the SingleHop data center, and is able to bill on a monthly cycle. Kreiner said these two items signaled SingleHop’s flexibility and willingness to work as partners. These accommodations extend to day-to-day operations of customer environments, as well. Many hosting providers lock customers out of hardware configuration once a solution is deployed; but Kreiner and his team maintain the control required to get down to bare metal management of their systems.
“Flexibility is big, because TSheets is growing rapidly, and your needs can shift quickly when you’re growing fast — even when your underlying business is the same,” he said. “You want a provider who will not reduce your agility in responding to ever-changing needs.”
Now, more than three years after deploying with SingleHop, TSheets is experiencing the performance and consistency they sought while vetting new providers. Kreiner calls SingleHop’s reliability between data centers “the best we’ve experienced” and expects his dedicated environment to continually add value as TSheets brings thousands of more customers onto the platform.
“Switching to dedicated servers with Singlehop gave us two huge improvements: We were able to move from spinning disks to SSD, and we moved from a shared multi-tenant environment to a dedicated environment,” he said. “SSD allowed us to vertically scale our existing architecture for another 18 months of growth while we engineered a next-gen architecture that could scale horizontally.” Kreiner also added that the performance predictability of their single-tenant environment has made capacity planning a much easier task.
To date, 124 million time cards have been processed by TSheets across the globe. That degree of scale and success takes many ingredients, including software that users love to use, a first-class customer experience team, superior development and operations teams, and networking and infrastructure that ensures workers are always able to clock-in.