Multi-tenant SaaS architectures are becoming more and more prominently used among SaaS providers. In a multi-tenant environment, all clients and their users consume the service from the same technology platform, sharing all components in the technology stack including the data model, servers, and database layers.
In our experience, the benefits of using a multi-tenant architecture translates to significant benefits for our customers, including:
A multi-tenant infrastructure makes it easy to increase capacity when more horsepower is required. When adding new hardware to the platform, the total capacity of the entire environment increases, becoming more scalable for not just a single customer, but for our entire client base. Scaling a well-architectured multi-tenant SaaS platform is, in many cases, a matter of simply plugging more hardware into the different elements contained within the technology stack.
The nature of a multi-tenant architecture makes it easier (as compared to a single tenant environment) to maximize the performance of the different elements in the technology stack, so optimum speed and reliability can be ensured at all times. For example, with multi-tenant architecture the provider can more precisely assess such factors as utilization, speed, and response times across the platform, and more efficiently fine tune our technology stack whenever needed.
Having to monitor and administer just one platform (instead of managing different sets of technology stacks for each client), a multi-tenant SaaS provider can deliver more efficient and effective service and support, including troubleshooting and problem resolution.
Upgrading the software version or elements in the technology stack (such as databases, servers, and the operating system) is easier since there is a single, centralized place to go to make adjustments, install patches, etc.
Some experts believe that what makes the multi-tenant model a superior one from a customer’s perspective, is the fact that the service provider has a more vested interest in making sure everything runs smoothly and it helps the service provider apply lessons learned into the operating procedures and improve the service quality (see Phil Wainewright’s Gmail failure is good for us). Think about it this way, in a single-tenant environment, if a server goes down, only one client is impacted. But, in a multi-tenant architecture, each and every customer will be affected by even the slightest technology glitch. Therefore, providers must take extra measures to ensure uptime, continuity, and performance and constantly deliver improvement opportunities to their business.