Multi-tenancy is a type of architecture where one instance of a software application tends to serve multiple customers or tenants. In such a system, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor can ideally run a single instance of its application on one instance of a database, and subsequently, offer web access to multiple customers. The data of each of the tenants remain isolated and invisible to other tenants in such a system.
Both businesses and developers aim for the most efficient and cost-effective approach when it comes to SaaS application development, and the multi-tenant system provides them with a more effective way to do so in comparison to the single tenancy system.
Multi-tenant SaaS system involves a centralized administration that maintains a common code-based application, as well as runs the common instances of the application for a discerning set of tenants. In addition to the software application, a multi-tenant database is also shared by each customer. As for the data, each dataset is tagged as they belong to an individual customer. The software is pre-programmed for segregating and securing the data for each user.
Here are some of the biggest reasons why businesses should opt for this system:
- Expect a reduction in the investment in the long run: As a multi-tenant platform facilitates sharing of databases, resources and even the application itself, the overall investment of the tenants comes down considerably in the long run. The investment costs in this system are especially more reasonable when compared to single-tenant SaaS, as the total expenses are shared among multiple tenants. The vendor can essentially deliver SaaS solutions more cost-effectively in the multi-tenancy model as they do not have to bear any extra costs for each incremental tenant. The multi-tenant model enables the vendors to optimally utilize the benefits of economies of scale.
- Optimized efficiency in performance: As the distinguished elements in the technology stack are typically shared, the SaaS architecture can provide optimal reliability, efficiency, and speed to the users. The vendors offer shared code, databases, as well as discerning elements of the technology stack to multiple tenants at the same time. This makes it easier for the vendors to assess and optimize speed, speed up response time across the entire system, and subsequently also update the technology stack whenever required. As a result, the high-efficiency level becomes a key identifier of the multi-tenant SaaS platform. In comparison to a single-tenant application, there is much superior scope for optimum utilization of resources in the multi-tenant system. As multiple tenants are using the same resources and infrastructure, maintenance gains momentum and utilization becomes optimum. Also, in most cases, if a tenant does not utilize a resource at any given point in time, the same can easily be used by another tenant.
- Expedient upgrades, updates, and maintenance: The modules present in a multi-tenant application are usually highly configurable, enabling each tenant to use the application most conveniently without changing the relevant underlying code. Even the data structure in this system does not need to undergo any kind of change as the code is shared among multiple parties and remains common. It is quite easy to make upgrades to the technology stack or the application itself as it is needed to be done at only one centralized point, whose results are reflected at the ends of all the tenants. The maintenance costs, specific to Upgrades are shared among the pool of users with just one single system upgrade required, while maintenance of multiple applications or technology stacks is also not needed. In addition to this, the users also do not have to bother to update new features and updates in the system as such facilities would be provided by the SaaS vendor itself. Updates usually come as a part of the subscription of multi-tenant SaaS services.
- Convenient onboarding of new tenants: Most vendors provide assurance of smooth and hassle-free onboarding to their clients. Typically, the processes involved in signing up and configuration of the domain/ sub-domain in a multi-tenant application are automated. The application also performs tasks like configuring of application and setup of default data for clients automatically.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, the multi-tenant architecture enables vendors to offer more prompt and efficient support services, resulting in smoother problem solving and troubleshooting techniques. While it has its pros and cons, the benefits of this system far outweigh its negative aspects and it should be the preferred choice for businesses to build their SaaS applications.