When operating in the cloud, one of the most important aspects to be considered is the type of architecture that can be adopted for enterprises and customer data. This is vital as cost-effective architecture plays a major role in building a profitable SaaS–based business.
Cloud computing is categorized into public, private & hybrid cloud environments where private cloud is dedicated to specific enterprise customers and public cloud service architectures can be shared by multi-tenants. Both architecture types have security and privacy implications. There is also the matter of cost, which varies greatly depending on the architectural model chosen.
In this blog, we will learn how to compare multi-tenant and single-tenant cloud architecture and build more cost-efficient applications regardless of the model implemented.
Introduction to Single Tenant Architecture
A single-tenant cloud architecture functions on a dedicated computing environment where the software, infrastructure, or database is exclusive to a single client. Service scaling is achieved through the dynamic provisioning of new compute instances through a standalone offsite data center or managed by a private cloud provider with no scope of sharing hosted resources. In this approach, the data of all tenants are segregated and independent of each other. Every single tenant has its database, and the architecture construct is such that it enables only one software instance per SaaS server.
This model gives organizations more control over resources, allowing them to test different hypotheses and narrow down the best insights. More importantly, enterprises with single-tenant cloud architecture offer their customers greater customization, so they get a unique experience with their products and services.
Benefits of Single Tenant Architecture
Security – Single tenancy provides true data isolation, contributing to optimal protection and enhanced security.
Migration – When tenants move from a single-tenant system (SaaS) to a self-hosted or on-premises environment, they can quickly move applications to their own managed servers.
Customization – Single tenancy gives you the ability to tailor your environment to your exact needs.
Reliability – Single tenancy provides consistency and the highest level of performance for your applications.
Full Control – A single tenant has complete control over their environment. In short, this platform offers more flexibility when it comes to customization. Additional controls also apply to upgrades and updates.
Introduction to Multi-Tenant Architecture
Multi-tenant cloud architecture is a single cloud infrastructure designed for multiple enterprises. An overall system can include multiple servers and data centers consolidated into a single database.
Cloud providers offer multi-tenancy as a gateway for sharing the same application with multiple enterprises on the same hardware and the same operating environment with the same storage mechanism.
Compared to single-tenant cloud services, they often provide isolation, availability, flexibility, scalability, and security at a cheaper total cost of ownership. A user who uses multi-tenancy expands his infrastructure across a single network. Servers, storage, networks, and computing resources are all inclusive of this.
When compared to traditional hosting providers, this architecture provides a more affordable computing and storage solution, and its scalability and on-demand hosting, help lower maintenance costs. The objective is to free up service providers from having to create, grow, and maintain various cloud deployments for each tenant organization to serve more tenants. Although each tenant has a unique instance of the app, they all share the same infrastructure and services.
Benefits of Multi-tenant Architecture
Scalable – Onboarding users with a multi-tenant cloud are very easy. Onboarding 10 users from 1,000 companies are no different than onboarding 1,000 users from 1 company.
Cost Efficient – Multi-tenancy allows you to consolidate and distribute resources efficiently, resulting in significant cost savings.
Flexibility – A multi-tenant cloud can allocate pools of resources to users who need them as their needs grow and shrink.
Efficient – Multi-tenancy reduces the requirement to manage infrastructure and handle updates.
When To Use Single Tenant Vs. Multi-tenant Cloud Architecture
Multi-tenant architecture is mainly a solution for handling the scalability of increasingly complex applications and websites. Examples of this include online e-commerce retailers that need to process individual customer orders, application performance management (APM) providers that are too large to handle customer requests and cloud service providers to name a few. Now with enterprises embracing multi-tenant architecture increasingly, there has been significant growth in the business while decrease in costs.
A multitenant cloud can be counterproductive for small, focused nonprofit startups, as well as small & mid-sized businesses. As the enterprise landscape evolves rapidly, it is imperative that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adapt to market changes and take advantage of the changing digital behavior of customers. Multi-tenancy is good for SMBs in terms of innovating faster and being more cost-effective without having to sacrifice scalability and security. Single-tenant cloud apps can be the best choice for businesses that value the privacy and security of their customer data. For example, patient information is very important in the healthcare industry. Applications in this space must comply with HIPAA regulations, requiring healthcare organizations to adopt single-tenant cloud apps. This also applies to the BaaS, finance, and banking domains.
It is important to note that SaaS providers should always develop software for their market and ultimately strive to target a single customer. If you focus on providing too many apps, you risk degrading the quality of your software and services.
As an enterprise, it is challenging to decide whether a single-tenant or multi-tenant architecture is best suited. When you decide to cloud-enable your business, you should consider how mature a cloud environment is needed. Before taking a final decision, it is a must to consider the size and amount of tenants required as well as address areas like resilience, security, disaster recovery, and performance.
Single-tenant and multi-tenant cloud architecture have their own set of pros and cons. It is important to understand which of the two options is best suited for business considering the size of business and the stated requirements. Despite higher costs, single tenancy architecture is preferred by large enterprises that have higher security concerns.
Multi-tenancy architecture is best suited for smaller enterprises that come with high agility and can be scaled up or down to meet business needs while optimizing costs.