How Rippling is redefining multiregion data residency


Apr 17, 2024

Data security is at the forefront of many companies’ minds. That’s why Rippling’s approach to data residency is about taking proactive measures that meet and exceed customers' expectations for their data security.

Alex Strachan, a staff software engineer and the project architect for the multiregion project at Rippling, spoke at QCon San Francisco about the complexities and innovative strategies behind Rippling's approach to data residency and multiregion architectures. He reproduced his talk to share with other engineers. Watch his presentation, and check out the highlights below.

The highlights:

  • Listening to customer needs: Contrary to popular belief, Alex says, Rippling’s approach to multiregion architectures in the EU isn’t about GDPR compliance. “European customers are very sensitive to data residency; they want to know that their data is secure and located in the EU,” he says. “This is something that they require, especially for data as sensitive as HR data.” Alex explains how data residency at Rippling evolved to a foundational element of building trust with global clients and dives into the nuances of developing a system that respects the legal framework and elevates data security as a fundamental principle.
  • The future looks data-heavy: And Rippling is ready. Alex discusses planning for horizontal scalability as he looks to a future where Rippling handles 10x more data. This includes the technical challenges and solutions involved in creating a distributed, cell-based architecture that maintains operational efficiency and data integrity across multiple regions, laying the groundwork for seamless scalability without compromising performance or security.
  • A single source of truth: At Rippling, a company's data is an indivisible "atom" that resides wholly within a single region, ensuring one source of trust and truth in a multiregion setup. This simple yet powerful approach to data integrity significantly reduces the complexity of cross-region data management. Alex explains how it helps Rippling maintain strict data locality rules while enabling efficient, region-specific operations.
  • Making complex systems work smoothly: From user authentication across regions to handling data access with iron-clad security, multiregion architectures are far from simple, and Alex walks through the high-stakes balancing act Rippling performs daily. “We're really focused on providing the highest level of trust and security that we can for our European customers. And that's why we're doing this,” he says. He explores how Rippling optimizes multiregion architectures for both performance and user experience, plus the strategies he and his team use to minimize latency and maximize efficiency. He touches on the use of edge computing, intelligent routing algorithms, and localized data caching as techniques to ensure that users across different regions experience the same high level of performance and reliability.
  • Trying to do the same thing every time: Why make things harder than they need to be? Rippling’s approach is about consistency and predictability in multiregion operations, mitigating the risk of rare but potentially catastrophic edge cases and ensuring every customer interaction is seamless, no matter where their data resides. As Alex puts it, “The most important thing that you can do—and this is broadly true in engineering—is trying to do the same thing every time.”
  • The EU is just the beginning: Alex hints at Rippling’s plan to bring its multiregion architecture solutions to new global markets, but that comes with new challenges: adhering to diverse customer needs and expectations while staying committed to innovation and excellence in the global data landscape. For that, Rippling needs more forward-thinking engineers.

Join us in shaping the future of data security and multiregion architectures

Are you passionate about tackling complex engineering problems and crafting solutions that blend security, efficiency, and scalability? Rippling is looking for exceptional engineers to join our team and drive the future of data residency technologies.

If you're inspired by what you see and ready to contribute to our mission, learn more about our open roles.

Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide or be relied on for tax, accounting, or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, accounting, and legal advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: April 26, 2024

The Author

Alex Strachan

Staff Software Engineer, Site Performance