A lot of business organizations have successfully achieved cost-reduction and scalability by using SaaS-based cloud solutions. Consequently, Software as a Service (SaaS) has become the widely-preferred model for delivering business applications. It supports both single-tenant and multi-tenant architectures. This gives organizations the flexibility to select the most suitable environment based on factors such as cost, scalability, security, customizability, and ease of migration.
This blog presents a thorough comparison of these two types of architecture. It highlights their respective advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, it offers insights into how to make the appropriate choice based on the specific requirements of the organization. Let’s start by understanding these two forms of architecture.
What is a Single-Tenant SaaS Architecture?
In this form of architecture, clients get their own database and software instance. This approach ensures that the data of different users remains separate from one another. Furthermore, the architecture permits only one instance per SaaS server.
This approach allows for tailoring software specifically for each new tenant. Software developers also have the liberty to customize the user interface (UI) once the software is installed on their local system. It enables them to adapt it to their specific needs. However, it’s important to note that they won’t have access to the software’s underlying code.
What are the Benefits of Single-Tenancy?
Migrating data from a single-tenant environment is easy because the data store contains data from only one customer. Therefore, you need not be concerned about transferring wrong customer data or dealing with complex migration scripts.
With single-tenancy, the data of clients remains secure even in the event of a data breach affecting one client within the same service provider. This is because each of their data is stored in a separate instance.
Single-tenant instances are known for their reliability as they depend on a single instance’s performance rather than being influenced by multiple instances from various tenants.
What is a Multi-Tenant SaaS Architecture?
In a multi-tenancy setup, multiple customers share a common database and application. This approach is particularly beneficial for businesses seeking a smoother startup experience and lower hardware demands. Multi-tenancy has evolved into a widely adopted industry standard for enterprise SaaS environments.
Most startups opt for a multi-tenant architecture, which involves utilizing a single extensive database. All the information is stored in the shared database and handled by the same computing system. Robust security measures are implemented to ensure the confidentiality of information.
What are the Benefits of Multi-Tenancy?
The multi-tenant environment allows for sharing services, databases, resources, and applications. This results in reduced expenses and is thereby better when compared to a single-tenant architecture. Scaling becomes more economical as new users can leverage the same software already used by the initial buyers.
Reduced Maintenance Expenses
SaaS subscriptions typically cover maintenance expenses in a multi-tenant architecture. This results in cost savings for customers.
In a multi-tenant environment, all customers receive feature updates whenever the SaaS vendors release new features. This applies to every customer, even if a particular customer requested the feature initially.
Single-Tenant Vs. Multi-Tenant Architecture: Which One Should You Choose?
Speed and Performance
In the case of a single-tenant setup, the performance is mainly shaped by the requirements placed on the infrastructure and the supportive hardware within that environment. On the other hand, a multi-tenant architecture, which caters to different clients, can affect both the overall system performance and that of individual tenants.
Nevertheless, contemporary multi-tenant systems employ sophisticated mapping and resource distribution mechanisms to optimize resource utilization and improve overall performance. Additionally, certain vendors also provide enhanced performance through stringent service level agreements (SLAs) to their customers, albeit at an extra expense.
Setup and Maintenance
In the case of single-tenancy, users encounter higher maintenance costs. For example, SaaS companies that maintain separate single-tenant instances for each new user tend to pass on these expenses to customers, leading to a higher subscription price.
On the other hand, multi-tenancy is a more cost-effective option for a software development company. This is due to the fact that the management expenses associated with maintenance are shared among multiple tenants.
SaaS vendors typically manage most maintenance operations. It means, from the user’s point of view, there is less effort needed for installations and maintenance.
Scalability and Efficiency
In the case of a single-tenant setup, each user will have dedicated application instances. They can easily scale up by adjusting sizes or adding more instances.
In multi-tenancy, resources are shared. This enables the customer to utilize them more efficiently. This form of architecture can allocate computing resources as required. Also, combining it with storage and hardware virtualization can effectively help minimize costs.
However, the scalable environment may not always be fully comprehensible or directly controllable by users.
Control and Customization
In a single-tenancy, users can control their environment and configuration. They can manage everything from updates to maintenance schedules according to their preferences.
On the other hand, multi-tenant architecture provides users with less control over their environment. Also, they don’t get the option to decide which software updates to apply.
Backup and Restore
Customers can control backups and recovery in single-tenant architecture. This is due to the backup process encompassing a single instance’s underlying code and data structure. It results in an effortless restoration to previous versions.
On the other hand, in a multi-tenant architecture, backup and recovery are typically managed at the system level rather than for individual clients. Consequently, some vendors might find it challenging to meet enterprise customers’ data and security policies.
When to Use Single and Multi-Tenant Architecture?
A single-tenant setup of SaaS is suitable for specific companies or industries that prioritize customer data privacy and security. The healthcare and finance sectors serve as the best examples in this regard.
For instance, healthcare applications dealing with patient information must adhere to strict HIPAA regulations. To ensure compliance, each institution may need to establish its own data center on-site. Similarly, certain types of financial information require the same level of individualized handling.
On the other hand, consumer-facing applications and start-ups that demand relatively less customization frequently choose a multi-tenancy. Moreover, businesses seeking cost-effective solutions also tend to favor the same.
When deciding on the appropriate SaaS architecture, an organization must consider various factors. These include the reason for cloud adoption, the type of application, scalability requirements, visibility, and recovery options.
For your business project, it is essential to collaborate with a reliable software development company based in the USA to ensure the achievement of desired results.
Hi! I’m Jessica Bennett, a full-time technical writer at Unified Infotech. My expertise is in taking in a lot of information and communicating the key ideas. I’m skilled at simplifying difficult technical phrases and jargon such that the common audience can grasp it. I assist major technical organizations in effectively communicating their message across multiple platforms. I hold both a master’s degree in Computer Applications and a bachelor’s degree in English literature. I can write about a wide range of topics for different audiences because of my varied background.