Single or Multi Tenant
A few weeks ago, I had interviewed Jeff Saling about the benefits and future of SaaS. In that interview we talked about single tenancy and multi tenancy and what options work for which companies. Customers are sometimes faced with the dilemna of whether to go single tenant or multi tenant. This post will help answers some questions about both kinds of hosting and help you in your decision making.
What is the difference between single tenant and multi tenant?
As the name suggests, a single tenant system houses the data for one customer only. The hardware infrastructure is dedicated to one single customer. Whereas in a multi tenant system, multiple customers are housed on a single server and the entire infrastructure is shared amongst all the occupants.
This basic difference between the two systems leads to other considerations as follows that are important when deciding which system to choose.
As pointed out above all the hardware resources ie processors, memory etc. are available to the single customer in case of single tenancy(ST) and these resources will be shared across all the customers in a multi tenant(MT) environment. This means that if you need to run resource intensive processes very frequently, you will be fighting for resources in case of MT whereas in case of ST, all the resources are always at your disposal.
It goes without saying that a ST system will have a higher level of security and absolutely no risk of accidental data contamination between two customers. But at the same time, MT systems also employ extremely high security standards which are in most cases adequate for a company’s security needs. These systems go through rigorous security certifications that have to be renewed every few years in order to protect the data and the customers they house.
A MT system has to follow the upgrade schedule as per the product vendor and the customers have a little say as to when the upgrades can happen. ST systems have the luxury of sticking to their own upgrade schedule within a certain time frame. This may be important to some customers particularly in cases where the system utilization is very high and downtime for an upgrade is not affordable.
Although ST systems have a number of advantages, they come at a premium cost. The per user subscription fee for a ST system is significantly higher than a MT system.
In addition to the above, specific industries that have very high security guidelines or industries in certain geographical locations may need to employ ST systems in order to satisfy legal requirements.
It is only by considering all of these factors that you would be able to determine the right fit for your company.