DSI Solutions: Giving the commercial vehicle industry heavy-duty cloud hosting

About DSI Solutions

DSI Solutions is a premier supplier of business management software specifically designed for suppliers to the commercial vehicle industry. From its headquarters in Arlington, Texas, DSI serves customers across North America.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

DSI Solutions enables customers to operate more quickly and efficiently by replacing their self-hosted solutions with scalable, high-performance infrastructure on Google Cloud Platform.

Google Cloud Results

  • Improves customer satisfaction with consistent performance, stability, and near-infinite scalability
  • Gives customers enterprise-class data protection and disaster recovery, with zero data loss to date
  • Accelerates time to market with managed services for analytics and databases
  • Enables tech team to focus on software development versus hardware support

50% of customers already moved to GCP

Suppliers to the commercial vehicle industry such as heavy-duty truck and trailer dealers, equipment vendors, warehouse distributors, and repair facilities have specific needs for business management software. They must provide a wide range of functionality including accounting, contract financing, customer relationship management, dealer alerts, vehicle sales and inventory tracking, and parts and service management. DSI Solutions serves the industry’s unique needs with its Platinum Software Suite, which is scalable from smaller single-location businesses to large multi-company businesses.

For years, DSI’s customers ran the software on local hardware, often in sooty, dusty conditions that are common in the transportation industry. However, as the equipment aged, parts would inevitably fail and customers often did not have the IT expertise or parts on site to fix the problem quickly. Although DSI support was always fast to respond with the proper recommendations for a fix, downtimes sometimes occurred, potentially affecting a customer’s sales for that day. Or even more problematic, sometimes customers mistook their own hardware or network issues for software bugs, reflecting poorly on DSI’s product even though there was no fault in the code.

“We strongly encourage our customers to move to Google Cloud Platform because it’s an easy and cost-effective way to give them the performance, stability, scalability, and data protection the commercial vehicle industry requires.”

Ben Cramer, CEO and Developer, DSI Solutions

Customers were responsible for their own backups and few had a robust disaster recovery (DR) plan. If a customer’s business grew and the hardware was not up to the additional load, application performance degraded. DSI did its best to help with these issues, but began looking for a different hosting model that would improve customer experiences while keeping its development staff focused on continuously improving its software. After successfully moving its own business systems to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), DSI decided to give its customers the same benefits.

“We strongly encourage our customers to move to Google Cloud Platform because it’s an easy and cost-effective way to give them the performance, stability, scalability, and data protection the commercial vehicle industry requires,” says Ben Cramer, CEO and Developer at DSI Solutions.

Offering customers a better model

To provide consistent performance for its memory-bound, Linux-based application without overspending on CPU resources, DSI configures custom machine types on Compute Engine, using preemptible virtual machines to keep costs down without impacting application availability. Internal and customer data is stored in Cloud Storage, while DSI’s document management module runs on App Engine for easy, serverless scalability. If a customer needs more memory or hard drive space, it’s easy for DSI to allocate those resources in minutes from anywhere, instead of providing phone support or sending an engineer to a customer site to help troubleshoot.

“Hosting our customers on GCP allows us to assist them much faster,” says Ben. “Typically it takes a few weeks of planning and coordination with their local IT, but the actual transition to GCP is done in a day, and the customers start seeing benefits immediately.”

Once customers are on GCP, DSI takes responsibility for their backup and recovery, providing nearline and coldline archival options at an extremely low cost. Data is protected with redundant storage, and customers no longer need to concern themselves with nightly backups or RAID configurations. Approximately 50% of DSI’s customers have already moved to GCP and none have experienced any data loss.

“Our customers are seeing the stability of GCP, and they are relieved that we are removing the overhead and worry of managing of their hardware and backups,” says Ben. “The application speed improvements are night and day, and power outages no longer threaten our customers’ business systems.”

“It’s great to know that Google Cloud Platform offers an entire ecosystem of managed services and APIs that we can leverage to bring features to market much faster, because we don’t have to manage everything ourselves.”

Ben Cramer, CEO and Developer, DSI Solutions

Solving business problems quickly

With many of its customers now on GCP, DSI can solve previously challenging problems, such as scaling print workloads for client documents using App Engine. “The throughput on GCP is tremendous, whereas we found that our customers’ self-hosted hardware often was not up to document management tasks,” Ben notes.

When DSI needed to store coupon information for a national manufacturer and distribute subsets of the data to customers that request it, DSI used BigQuery to store the data for free and query it on demand. The company is also using BigQuery to store user audit logs and query them if customers have any questions about who has logged in to the system. Soon, DSI plans to move its PostgreSQL databases to Cloud SQL, a fully managed database service, to achieve greater speed and throughput with no management hassles.

“We’ve found BigQuery to be very efficient both in terms of performance and per-query pricing,” says Ben. “It’s great to know that Google Cloud Platform offers an entire ecosystem of managed services and APIs that we can leverage to bring features to market much faster, because we don’t have to manage everything ourselves.”

Embracing true cloud collaboration

DSI also wanted to tap into the power of the cloud to help employees communicate better and increase their productivity, first trying a cloud suite from a popular office software provider. Unfortunately, it did not perform as DSI expected, and did not provide robust enough functionality for mobile users. DSI quickly moved to G Suite, giving users the ability to access Gmail from any device and collaborate in real time on Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

“Our software is only as good as the infrastructure it’s running on, and Google Cloud Platform stands out over any self-hosted solution our customers could afford. We’re very satisfied with Google Cloud Platform, and we’re a better company because of it.”

Ben Cramer, CEO and Developer, DSI Solutions

“I can’t say enough great things about G Suite. It’s a tremendous value,” says Ben. “Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat really help our teams out. Drive is awesome for storing anything and everything, and we really like Team Drives as well.”

Becoming a better company

As its competitors struggle to support customers with aging hardware, DSI is taking that factor out of the equation so it can focus on the future. In addition to providing consistent performance and near-infinite scalability, DSI will be able to offer customers new features and functionality by taking advantage of Google Cloud machine learning (ML) APIs such as Cloud Vision API for image analysis.

“Our software is only as good as the infrastructure it’s running on, and Google Cloud Platform stands out over any self-hosted solution our customers could afford,” says Ben. “We’re very satisfied with Google Cloud Platform, and we’re a better company because of it.”

About DSI Solutions

DSI Solutions is a premier supplier of business management software specifically designed for suppliers to the commercial vehicle industry. From its headquarters in Arlington, Texas, DSI serves customers across North America.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States