Before we go deeper into the why behind the SaaS, a brief background on this topic's relevance, Simplain Vendor Portal, is now available as a SaaS solution. Customers can try a free, pre-designed trial and can try this with a single click. The intent of this article is not to recommend one architecture over the other. This article is mainly targeted to the non-technical decision makers and tries to simplify the different modes of software delivery and consumption. It must be further detailed by a discovery call and need analysis by a Simplain expert to suggest which is the best option for your given situation. Simplain Continues to offer all the deployment models – On-Premises, Hybrid, and On-Cloud.
Cloud computing technology is perhaps one of the most talked-about technical innovations in recent times.
But why cloud? What are these single-tenant, multi-tenant and multi-instance architectures? Why are they in demand? Is it the cost factor? What about the Scalability, Availability, Performance, or the Security? While most of the traditional grocery and C- Store chains have found it necessary to use their own infrastructure, why is SaaS seen as a viable and cost-effective solution?
We may have come across this point several times that a critical factor for an enterprise in their digital transformation is choosing the right enterprise architecture for their business. We also have come across concepts such as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Platform as a Service), and SaaS, Software as a Service – mainly for applications.
When it comes to an application in the cloud computing platform, the term tenancy is synonymous. So how is it related to Software as a Service (SaaS)? In cloud computing, the term tenancy refers to the exchange of resources between two environments, i.e., private, and public environments that are not visible to other users on the same platform. Similarly, in SaaS, it is categorized as single-tenant, multi-tenant, and multi-instance architectures.
What is SaaS?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. SaaS is considered a software distribution method wherein it provides a subscription-based model for accessing a product and services. Ideally, the Software is hosted on a cloud server that provides greater accessibility. Customers do not have to invest in hardware, storage, or other infrastructure to own the application. You also pay as you go for different tenures of the subscription contract. In most companies, the expenditure is moved from CAPEX to OPEX. Below represents what comes with a typical SaaS subscription that the customers do not have to invest/maintain/support/manage independently.
In the age of modern technology, SaaS is the way forward for your solutions with the provision of scalability along with performance and security. SaaS minimizes the need to manage Software through your own data centers, has a low cost of ownership and brings efficiency in business operations. However, the choice of the right architecture is exceptionally crucial. To help gain a more in-depth insight, we will explain the architectures and look at your business requirements' best approach. Let us explore these architectures below:
Single Tenant Architecture
The single-tenant SaaS is an architecture comprising a dedicated server and supporting infrastructure for serving a single customer. The products that belong to the category of single-tenant architecture does not allow sharing between users. The buyers are provided with their independent database and customizable options as per their requirements.
Benefits of Single-Tenant Architecture
The single-tenant architecture allows for an independent database; therefore, the data is isolated from other customers. There is no provision of sharing with other users, so access to sensitive information is secured.
As there is complete isolation of data from other users, downtime during a procedure will not affect other clients' applications. Hence, it is considered more reliable.
⮚ Backup and Restoration options
Each client is provided with a remote backup. The ease of Restoration and backup of the database in a dedicated component of the server facilitates more generous access to the historical information and previous settings.
The customers who are using a single-tenant architecture have the possibility of self- upgrade. The users do not have to wait for an update by the software provider.
A user in the single-tenant architecture can migrate to a self-hosted environment. These options make it easier to export all the information into the new environment without a complicated process as all the required information is available in a single space.
Limitations of Single-tenant SaaS
⮚ Single-tenant architecture is considered costlier due to the complexity in its implementation, time, and resources that are involved in it. There are other forms of ownership costs that make it less considerable for some users.
⮚ The maintenance and upgrades are solely dependent on the customer, thus making it less appealing.
⮚ There is a lack of efficiency, as all the resources are not entirely maximized.
Here is a quick question before we deep dive further- does any recent startup come into mind that might be using single-tenant architecture? As you must have rightly guessed- the answer is almost no one in particular. What is it about multi-tenant architecture that is considered more efficient over single-tenant architecture?
To understand the gaining popularity of multi-tenant architecture, it is essential to describe a vital point: multi-tenancy being considered a core benefit of the SaaS solutions.
When a single instance of a software application on the cloud platform serves multiple customers, it is considered a multi-tenancy environment. Ideally, multi-tenancy is suitable for enterprises looking for a more straightforward setup with fewer hardware requirements. Multi-tenant architecture has become famous for businesses due to its costing and efficiency, and it has become a preferred architecture in the cloud environment.
What is a Multi-tenant SaaS?
Multi-tenant SaaS is an architecture wherein multiple customers share the same database and supporting information and the application. It can be described as an environment where all the clients could be considered offices, but they are located within the same building premise. Each client has access to work from their workspace within a large SaaS software. However, it is essential to note that the clients can customize only some parts of the application, and no customization is allowed for the application's code. The following representation depicts the multi-tenant architecture.
Benefits of Multi-tenant architecture
⮚ Low Cost
The multi-tenant architecture enables the exchange of databases, resources, and applications. Such an architecture's cost is comparatively lower than that of a single-tenant architecture. The new users can have the same access as the original users.
The exchange of information among users leads to efficiency in resource allocation. The environment is continuously operating with information being shared with no additional cost, hardware, and applications.
The updates for the multi-tenant Software does not require any expensive fee. The maintenance cost is inclusive within the subscription. The updates that are applied to a system are the same for all customers, and they are managed by the SaaS company itself and not the customer.
⮚ Computing capacity
The multi-tenant architecture provides multi customers to be connected and share the same data center and infrastructure. This enables clients to work efficiently without needing to add more server or powerful computing capabilities.
⮚ Always ‘On’ and up to date
Limitations of Multi-tenant SaaS
⮚ Limited customization. SaaS is built on the objective of standardizing a solution and providing the same solution to multiple customers. It considers the industry's best practices and the use cases common and proven to be operationally efficient. It pays in the long term to change the enterprise process to take advantage of the SaaS workflows.
⮚ A customer-facing issue can affect all other customers. A hardware or software failure in the server can impact all the customers as well. For the same reason, the SaaS vendor pays more attention to keep the workloads running uninterrupted.
⮚ It is less customizable as compared to a single-tenant SaaS.
⮚ Any security breach- unavailability can affect all customers
What is Multi-instance SaaS?
What is multi-instance architecture, and why is it considered? A multi-instance architecture involves multiple customers with separate instances of the application and operating system that run on a separate virtual machine. The database is separate for each user interaction.
Why should you opt for a multi-instance architecture? The advantages are obvious and are listed as follows.
⮚ Better Security: Users can extend business into a commercial cloud platform with better security controls.
⮚ Downtime: The upgrades are performed individually, which makes it quicker and more effortless in comparison with other architectures.
⮚ Database: Every user has a separate database; thus gives total data isolation, confidentiality, visibility and controls are localized.
⮚ Customization: A significant degree of freedom in terms of customization and control on your platform as it resides within your own architecture. You can add or remove compute, RAM, storage as per your needs.
⮚ Lesser vulnerability towards hacking: An individual database holds lesser value for hackers than the cross-instance data on other platforms.
⮚ Personalization: Each customer can receive dedicated features, maintenance / upgrade windows, updates
Limitations of Multi-instance SaaS
⮚ Higher cost
⮚ Higher effort from the SaaS Provider to deploy and maintain
Our On-premise Solution.
We continue to offer our on-premise vendor portal and associated services for customers who chose to implement an on-premise solution. Often customers need to have full control, specific integration with legacy or other on-premises systems. Simplain can be installed on customers' infrastructure and provide complete on-site implementation, maintenance, support, and integration services.
How to choose the appropriate solution for your business?
Although a tenancy architecture will not impact the functioning of an application in the platform, there is an impact on the overall solution provided to the customers. Certain factors need to be noted while choosing the right model for your business.
o The storage is allocated per tenant.
o The possible number of tenants in the architecture.
o The aggregate of storage capacity.
⮚ Tenant impact: Evaluate the architecture's data isolation and performance and verify how the workload affects another tenant.
⮚ Cost factors: The cost factor must be considered while choosing the right solution. The database costs and any ownership costs that might be associated.
⮚ Operational factors
o Restoration possibilities.
o Recovery and backup.
o Management of performance and schema.
⮚ Customization: Ease of customization is a significant factor in deciding the right fit for your business.
With every technology, there are always pros and cons associated with it. In recent times, businesses and enterprises have grown rapidly, and so has their requirements. After considering the advantages and the disadvantages of the single-tenant, multi-instance and multi-tenant architectures, it can be concluded that multi-tenant architecture offers more benefits when considering a larger enterprise and the pricing advantage that is being provided for using this architecture. Another added factor is the availability of updates managed by the SaaS provider, which can help keep an application up to date. It may vary with usage, and specific clients might benefit from a single-tenant architecture. However, multi-tenant architecture brings more flexibility and greater capacity in comparison. The critical challenges that will need to be addressed are privacy and security in future developments.
None of the distribution models above does not affect the user experience, functionality or performance of the Simplain Vendor Portal. Customers can access the software through a simple browser on desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile.
To learn more about which architecture suits the best for your situation, schedule a call with a Simplain expert by contacting https://www.simplain.com/contact.