Learning about multitenancy will help you understand the architecture better if you are interested in cloud computing and SaaS.
As data sharing became highly prevalent, multitenancy has become an integral part of cloud computing. Many popular cloud service providers offer multi-tenancy services to end users. Multi-tenant architectures make sure the cloud-based workloads are distributed efficiently.
Before moving into the detailed discussion on multitenancy, let’s learn about cloud computing in brief.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing refers to the technology that makes the users utilize computer resources, storage, and computing power over the internet on demand. It helps you cut costs with pay-as-you-go services and do away with the need to buy and maintain physical data centers.
Nowadays, all kinds of business use cloud computing for different purposes, such as development and testing, email, data backup, analytics, and disaster recovery.
Multitenancy in Cloud Computing
Simply put, multitenancy means having multiple tenants. In cloud computing, it refers to an architecture where multiple customers or end users share the IT resources of a public or private cloud solution. However, there is no need to worry about privacy as the data of each tenant stay isolated from and invisible to the others.
In such a system, every tenant or customer has a separate and individual space for their data storage and processes. Each section of a multi-tenant cloud network has to process complex permissions before allowing the user access to their isolated data.
It means you can only access your data with the permission of the service provider, and that data is inaccessible to every other tenant.
Usually, the tenants of a private cloud are different individuals or groups that belong to a single organization. If it is a public cloud service provider, the tenants could be from different organizations that share the server space safely.
You will also see that most public cloud solution providers follow this model. The reason is, running single-instance servers is less expensive and good for streamlining updates.
How Multitenancy Work in Cloud Computing
Cloud computing multitenancy works differently in various situations.
#1. Public Cloud
For most service providers, multitenancy means sharing the software instance. They store each tenant’s metadata to use it at runtime to change the software instance. Each user needs permission to access the data so that they can only access their own data. Moreover, they get different experiences even though they share the application instance.
#2. Private Cloud
The functionality of private cloud multitenancy is more or less similar to public cloud computing. The only difference could be that the other tenants belong to the same organization. In a private cloud platform, different teams of the same organization share the resources.
#3. Container Architecture
Containers are self-contained bundles consisting of an application, its system libraries and libraries, and every other thing the application needs to run. With containers, applications run the same way regardless of their hosting locations.
To address multiple tenants, multiple containers are created. Thus, different users can run them on the same host machine.
Multi-Tenant Cloud vs. Single-Tenant Cloud
Cloud-based SaaS has two models for users: single-tenant and multi-tenant. The difference between these two lies in the mode of user access.
Every customer of single-tenant cloud services gets a distinct software instance running on a separate infrastructure. For multitenancy cloud computing, customers use shared infrastructure to get on-demand access to the SaaS solution.
Characteristics of Multitenancy Cloud
Multi-tenant cloud service providers implement the best data privacy practices. Thus, one tenant does not have access to the data of any other tenants.
Data stored in the cloud is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Especially in the case of multitenancy, an attack can cost data leakage of hundreds of tenants. For this reason, service providers implement robust and latest security measures.
Since data loss can happen due to many unforeseen circumstances, the providers always back up the data of all tenants for quick data recovery.
Even if one tenant uses an application heavily, it does not affect the software performance of the others.
Most multi-tenant platforms are completely scalable to accommodate the needs of the growing number of tenants.
Application Upgrade Facility
These platforms are in constant need of new features and bug fixes. Hence, system upgrade is an essential part of it.
Metered Usage and Charges
Using a multi-tenant cloud means utilizing the resources as your need them. The charges are also based on pay-per-use.
Virtualization vs. Multitenancy
People often mistake multitenancy for virtualization. But these two are not quite the same. In multitenancy, multiple customers use the same applications located within the same atmosphere/ hardware.
In the case of virtualization, multiple virtual copies of the server are hosted in a single physical server. Each application runs on a separate VM that has its operating system.
Importance of Multitenancy for SaaS Application Design
While developing a SaaS application, one has to decide on their tenancy model. You can choose between a single tenant and multiple tenants, depending on the resources you have to offer and the operational complexity your application will be able to handle.
Using a multi-tenant architecture for SaaS means the vendors need to update the software once to serve all the tenants. They can provide access to multiple customers by running one application instance on a single database instance. In this case, everyone’s data remains invisible and inaccessible to others.
Multi-tenant SaaS vendors can serve everyone, including SMBs and large enterprises. It also offers clients scalability as they can scale up and down resource usage depending on the current business demands.
Multitenancy also ensures efficient use of IT resources. It needs less upfront infrastructure procurement and resources for management. This model also helps vendors and clients save costs which is often a useful feature to include more people in the client base.
Multitenancy Computing Applications
ADP DataCloud is a business data analytics software on the cloud. It is one of the great examples of multitenancy cloud software since it actress to different business niches like HR, payroll, time and expenses, workforce attendance, HR outsourcing, corporate compliance, and many more.
Different tenants or cloud app users can customize the app and its policies depending on their internal business needs.
FreshBooks, a leading accounting and bookkeeping cloud app, also follows the multitenancy model to provide its SaaS services. The tool comes with 10+ functionalities for the accounting section of any business.
Depending on the business needs, clients can choose the features and pay only for the used services. Clients can also modify their applications as per business branding. Multitenancy cloud computing enables such extensive customizations.
The Zoho CRM and Workplace also follow the multitenancy on the cloud. It has 40+ business applications to run your organization effortlessly. You can use a few tools like Zoho Assist, Zoho CRM, etc., that you need or subscribe to a whole bundle like Zoho One.
The Kubernetes community has seen a surge in multi-tenant projects. Using the Kubernetes multitenancy feature, you can share clusters according to the needs of multiple teams.
This model simplifies administrative work and saves you money. Here, multitenancy can be implemented in two ways: cluster sharing and multi-cluster.
Multitenancy Computing: Drawbacks
- Due to regulations and compliances, many organizations may not be able to store their data on a multi-tenant cloud platform.
- If the infrastructure setup is not done properly, excessive resource usage by one tenant can affect the performance of others. People also call this the “noisy neighbor” effect.
- When it comes to database maintenance and codebase, serving multiple tenants in one application instance makes these more complex.
- Backing up data and restoring it in a multi-tenant environment are complicated processes. Hence, not all providers offer reliable restoration services.
- Tenants of this model have fewer customization options and less control over the data quality.
- Issues that need a system-wide reset affect every tenant of the environment.
Future of Multitenancy Computing
Multitenancy is the future of modern applications. In the coming days, the world will see more multi-tenant applications that run on multi-tenant virtual environments and use multi-tenant hardware.
Gradually, the number of single-tenant applications will reduce. Ultimately, their usage will get restricted to on-premises data center environments.
By working on the security concerns regarding multitenancy, cloud solution providers can attract more people to opt for their platforms.
Multitenancy: Learning Resources
Developing Multi-tenant Applications for the Cloud on Windows Azure
The Amazon book teaches you how to build multi-tenant applications that can address the scalability requirements of the future. Besides focusing on best practices for multi-tenant application implementation, it talks about scalability, security, availability, and elasticity for SaaS applications.
|Developing Multi-tenant Applications for the Cloud on Windows Azure (Microsoft patterns & practices)||$45.99||Buy on Amazon|
This book is particularly helpful for developers, architects, or IT professionals working on Windows systems.
Advances in Multi-tenant Architecture
Reading this Amazon book, you can familiarize yourself with the advancements made in multitenancy architecture or models. It also discusses data models and data security for multi-tenant applications.
The book will also help you learn database-level multitenancy, granular data access control, and tables with vertical scalability.
Organizations are constantly looking to capitalize on the benefits of single tenancy and multitenancy cloud. They are even opting for hybrid tenancy and multi-cloud tenancy.
However, the trend shows the popularity of multitenancy cloud computing over other models. Since it offers endless scalability and a cost-efficient pricing model, it is ideal for businesses migrating from on-premise to cloud services.
Multitenancy has become a common model for sharing cloud computing resources with a large number of users without hampering anyone’s privacy and security.
Here, we discussed all the necessary aspects of multitenancy in cloud computing. You can also learn more about the topic from the resources listed above. You might be interested in learning about hybrid cloud computing.