Not all clouds are created equal. Is single or multi-tenant better for business?
blogSeptember 1, 2021
Find out more about the differences and benefits to help you decide.
The cloud is nothing new. The term has been around since the mid-1990s, and many feel the cloud was responsible for creating an unprecedented cultural shift. Today, it’s hard to imagine not accessing data wherever and whenever you need it. For that, Salesforce was the pioneer. In 1999, Salesforce was the first company to offer an application over the internet, heralding the arrival of Software as a Service (SaaS). And you could certainly argue that COVID-19 tipped the scales when it came to cloud adoption. How? By forcing even the most risk-averse organizations to move online and adopt a digital-first approach.
But what does that mean – online? Is it as simple as a ‘lift and shift’ of moving your traditional, on-premise, software solution to the cloud? Or is it opting for a best-of-breed SaaS solution? Does it matter? Absolutely.
breaking down the terms
Before we look at what moving to the cloud means for your business, let’s quickly decipher the main definitions.
- The cloud refers both to servers accessed remotely over the internet and the software and databases that run on those servers.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based managed service, or software licensing model, providing software to users.
- Tenancy in cloud computing refers to how the resources are shared. In SaaS, tenancy comes in two flavors: single- and multi-tenancy.
- Single-tenancy is a cloud architecture where a single instance of a software application and supporting infrastructure is dedicated to only one customer/company (in other words, a single tenant).
- Multi-tenancy is a shared cloud architecture that supports many customers (or multiple tenants). Customers tap into the same hardware and data storage, creating a dedicated instance for each customer. Each customer’s data is isolated and remains invisible to the other tenants, even though its instance runs on the same server as the others.
examining the differences and benefits
When operating in the cloud, one of the key decisions you have to make is whether you want a single-tenant or multi-tenant solution. How do you pick? Here’s an overview to help you decide.
A single-tenant solution runs on dedicated infrastructure. There’s no sharing whatsoever. The infrastructure, database, and application are solely yours. In that respect, it’s a similar concept to a traditional on-premise solution, just hosted in the cloud, which is why some people refer to single tenancy as a private cloud. Similar to your on-premise solution, with single-tenancy, you’re in control. You have a high degree of flexibility. For instance, you could decide to skip a software release update. And as you have control over your entire environment, adding functionality or customizations is all within your remit. For organizations that have high-security requirements, a single-tenant solution is often what they prefer. Think, government agencies or even some healthcare providers.
However, with that dedicated infrastructure comes higher costs. Why? There’s no cost-sharing for deployment, system monitoring, or serviceability. While the physical hardware within a customer’s server center is removed, the foundational software maintenance issues remain. Just like on-premise, single-tenant solutions still require significant resources when upgrading or moving to new versions along. Not only that, customers need to worry about their own backup, restore, and disaster recovery procedures. Let’s not forget, it’s essential to keep the system up to date, including the latest security patches, after the individual setup has been completed.
In a multi-tenant environment, on the other hand, the SaaS vendor provides a single version of its software (or application) for all its customers — tenants. Each customer has some level of customization, but they all share the same application and a multi-tenant database. Don’t worry. Each tenant has their own secure instance, ensuring that their data is kept secure and invisible from the others.
With the shared infrastructure comes several advantages. Multi-tenant solutions have lower costs but more efficient resources. How? The multi-tenant solution provides a dynamic environment that offers optimum efficiency and scales to the capacity required to power multiple users at once. Another excellent perk is that multi-tenancy doesn’t need much maintenance from a customer’s perspective; that’s up to the SaaS provider. There are no expensive set-up fees, and customers are always running the latest version of the software, so they don’t have to schedule downtime for upgrades. Finally, customers have a predictable cost of ownership with a multi-tenant solution — paying only for the resources they use.
It’s no wonder that multi-tenant solutions have become the standard for enterprise SaaS environments.
the inriver difference
Inriver is a multi-tenant SaaS solution based in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Microsoft Azure has the highest security standards, both internationally and on an industry-specific level. An added bonus of inriver being part of the Microsoft Azure ecosystem is you can build connectors to take advantage of other Azure services within your existing network.
removing the solution headache
The inriver multi-tenant architecture means although you’re running the same software and using shared resources. All data, enhancements, data models, and code are securely partitioned from other customers. If you need more data storage or workload capacity — don’t sweat it. It’s there when you need it due to inriver’s scalability; the solution adapts, even if you encounter large peaks.
Because inriver maintains the servers, databases, and code, your team no longer has the headache of ongoing maintenance. The regular incremental software updates and bug fixes mean you will always be on the current version of inriver, with the latest features and improvements. There is no downtime. Instead, you can focus on growing your business without IT constraints.
All that, and a predictable cost of ownership. You pay for what you use. The monthly subscription fee includes the inriver application license, maintenance, hosting, and support charges. The multi-tenant solution removes any expense of setting up and running on-site data centers. All computer hardware costs are eliminated.
that’s not all – don’t forget the elastic data model
Besides the multi-tenancy advantages, the flexibility of the inriver elastic data model gives you limitless possibilities to organize your specific product data into entities and relations, enhancing the enrichment process. How does that help you? Inriver’s elastic data model enables companies to establish stronger, more complex product relationships and hierarchies while pulling in and linking non-traditional information such as multi-media and influencer content. No matter how complex your product, our flexible entity structure means you can quickly adapt to ever-changing business and customer behavior.
With inriver in your corner, you can move at digital speed, get your products to market faster, and deliver on customer expectations.
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