Multi-Tenant Architecture: What You Need To Know
Written by Lauri Hänninen |
Multi-tenant architecture, also known as multitenancy, has become an increasingly important concept in today’s application development paradigm, largely due to the boom in cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) business models. Where SaaS allows us to deliver applications over the internet as a service, multitenancy enables companies to develop and scale applications faster and more efficiently by allowing them to share resources among different users.
But what exactly is multitenancy and why are companies building their applications using multi-tenant architecture? Here we answer these questions and introduce the main benefits of multi-tenant architecture.
What Is Multi-Tenant Architecture?
Multi-tenant architecture is a design approach that enables multiple user groups – referred to as tenants – access to one instance of an application or system. Much like an apartment building, where various tenants have their own apartments. All the apartments are private and secure but share the same infrastructure.
This type of architecture enables companies to save money on infrastructure costs by using the same hardware resources for several instances of the same application for multiple tenants. It is especially beneficial for SaaS companies because it allows them to scale their applications and remain cost-effective.
How Does Multi-Tenant Architecture Work?
Multi-tenant architecture creates distinct, isolated environments within a single physical infrastructure, such as a virtual machine, server, or cloud platform. This is accomplished by partitioning the data storage and processing; providing each tenant with their own dedicated space in the system. A tenant interacts with the application and can access their own data.
Because every multi-tenant environment is separated from one another, they can be customized to meet the needs of each individual tenant without impacting other environments. Tenants can personalize features such as user interface design and data security settings for their environment. Additionally, different sets of rules can be applied to each domain in terms of access control, resource allocation, and feature availability.
How Is Multi-Tenant Architecture Different From Single-Tenant Architecture?
The main difference between multitenancy and single-tenancy is how they handle resource sharing across multiple users or tenants. In single-tenant architecture, each tenant has a dedicated instance with their own set of hardware and software resources. This means each user group must pay for their own hardware and software costs, as well as any maintenance costs associated with running a dedicated instance for each tenant.
In multi-tenant architecture, tenants share a single set of hardware and software resources. This results in lower overhead costs since maintenance fees are shared across all user groups who utilize those shared resources.
Note that with single-tenancy there are often additional complexities related to managing different versions of code across multiple instances. Companies can face a situation where different tenants use different versions of the application. Whereas with multitenancy, all users use a single version of code, which considerably simplifies management over time — updates can be deployed across all users automatically instead of having them applied separately.
What Are the Benefits of Multi-tenant Architecture?
Multi-tenant architecture offers several benefits for businesses looking to move their applications to the cloud or deploy SaaS solutions. Some of the most notable advantages include:
With one application being able to serve multiple tenants, companies can easily scale up or down quickly and efficiently without managing multiple dedicated systems. This makes it much easier to accommodate seasonal spikes in demand or adjust usage based on customer needs.
Multitenancy allows companies to reduce costs by leveraging shared resources instead of having separate systems dedicated to one tenant at a time. This means businesses needn’t invest in additional servers or hardware to meet customer demands, helping to save money in the long run.
Multi-tenant architecture increases efficiency by allowing multiple tenants to share resources such as compute power and storage space without sacrificing performance. This makes it easier for businesses to manage large workloads without having to invest in additional hardware or software licenses.
Multi-tenant architecture is much easier to maintain and manage than single-tenant architecture because all tenants share the same underlying codebase and platform. This means businesses don’t have to worry about managing multiple versions of their application across different platforms – they can focus on managing one version across all tenants.
Multi-Tenant Architecture Examples
A good example of multi-tenant architecture is in cloud computing and software-as-a-service applications. Public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provide the same infrastructure for multiple different users simultaneously. Each customer can manage their own virtual machines, storage space, databases, etc., in their cloud instance, but cannot access other customers' services or data.
Similarly, SaaS applications like Gmail, Dropbox, and Netflix allow multiple customers to use a single instance without compromising other users' experiences. When we read emails in Gmail, save files in Dropbox, or watch our favorite show on Netflix, countless other users are doing the same thing at the same time. Yet they remain invisible to us and vice versa — this is the power of multitenancy.
Multi-Tenant Architecture in Analytics
Multi-tenant analytics is a type of analytics use case that leverages multi-tenant architecture. Analytics and business intelligence platforms that support multitenancy allow companies to share dashboards and report capabilities to different user groups in a secure and cost-efficient way while utilizing the same resources.
A good example of this is a B2B company that provides analytics to all of its customers using a multi-tenant analytics platform. The company can provide each customer with their own isolated instance of the analytics — with data only relevant to them. All customers share the same platform and its resources, but cannot access each other's data. The company can easily create a new analytics environment whenever it needs to onboard a new customer. Updates like new metrics, visualizations, or dashboard designs can be pushed out quickly and easily across all customer instances, streamlining the management and scaling of the analytics.
Multi-Tenant Architecture and GoodData
GoodData's analytics and business intelligence platform is designed for building multi-tenant analytics applications. The platform utilizes workspace architecture to ensure and enable the multi-tenant use case.
A workspace is a logical container for user groups to analyze and visualize data. Each user group, such as different departments, partners, or customers, has its own dedicated workspace containing all of the necessary components — a logical data model, user-access management, metrics, charts, dashboards, and more. This allows them to quickly and easily access, analyze, and deliver actionable insights from their data.
These analytical workspaces are completely isolated from one another; users in one workspace cannot view the data and analytics of other workspaces unless they are granted permission. Additionally, GoodData’s workspaces can support unlimited users without incurring extra costs, making it easy to scale analytics in a secure and cost-effective fashion.
Want To Try It Yourself?
If you are looking for a multi-tenant solution for your analytics, why not register for the free GoodData trial and see how easy it is to create a multi-tenant environment yourself?
Written by Lauri Hänninen |
Subscribe to our newsletter
Get your dose of interesting facts on analytics in your inbox every month.Subscribe