Application Security

Single-tenant apps vs. multi-tenant apps: how to choose

Single-tenant apps vs. multi-tenant apps: how to choose
Written by ga_dahmani
Single-tenant apps vs. multi-tenant apps: how to choose

When a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is ready to move from initial product (MVP) to a scalable cloud-native architecture, one of the key decisions solution architects and technology leaders will have to make is tenure.

More specifically: Should you choose a single-tenant or multi-tenant app?

The most successful technology businesses are those where the application architects understand that the technology is an extension of the business model. In that sense, a leasing decision is more of a business-driven decision than a technology-driven decision. You need to take into account the context of your business itself, product usage or revenue expectations, and any regulations that businesses must comply with. (Also read: Top 10 Strongest Data Privacy Laws by Country in 2022.)

Single-tenant or multi-tenant architectures are viable options to consider. To help you decide between them, let’s weigh their various implications for security and privacy, cost, accessibility, and ease of use:

What are single tenant applications?

Single-tenant applications are comprised of an architecture in which a single tenant, or customer, is served by a single instance of the software application and its supporting infrastructure.

The tenant has a dedicated database instance, dedicated server(s), separate interactions, and separate access rules, all of which remain completely independent from any other tenant.

Some common features of sole proprietorship include:

  • High resulting performance.
  • High unit cost (per tenant) of facilities.
  • Maintainable infrastructure per instance.
  • Flexibility and customization.
  • Minimized risk of data breaches as it is easier to protect a specific tenant.
  • Easier regulatory compliance.

There is one big caveat when it comes to the features mentioned above: As the number of tenants increases, so does the amount of time needed to manage software configurations and updates, and keep track of developers, testers, DevOps, and IT resources. Cloud.

This is when a multi-user architecture becomes necessary.

What are multi-user applications?

Multitenant is an architecture in which multiple clients are served by a single instance of the software and its supporting infrastructure. Each client shares the software application and tertiary applications. Depending on the specific architecture, business needs, and regulatory/security requirements, multi-tenant applications can separate data from each tenant in one or more of the following ways:

  • Logical separation.
  • Separation at the schema level.
  • Physical isolation.

There are many aspects to consider in building multi-tenant applications, and almost all of them involve complexity. For example:

  • Multi-tenant applications involve more security and compliance considerations to ensure a high level of data privacy, breach resiliency, and regulatory compliance. (Also read: Massive Data Breaches: The Truth You May Not Know.)
  • Performance must be carefully managed as tenants share server resources.
  • The features and models of a multi-tenant solution should be designed to be highly configurable so that users can make the application work the way they want.
  • Application functionality must be consistent across tenants, as there is no easy way to change the code or data structure of a specific tenant.
  • If the app relies on integrations with other SaaS products/Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), an issue may affect all users.
  • Multi-tenant applications require careful handling of domain name system (DNS) configurations, token management, and white labeling.
  • Deploying updates to specific tenants requires the deployment of multiple servers with specific DNS for target clients.

Regardless of the type of data isolation you use (logical separation, schema level, or physical isolation), multi-tenant architectures require more experience and development skills. There is a risk that a particular customer’s data may be exposed or compromised through another tenant’s use of application data.

Each update must be thoroughly tested for data security and isolation, performance, security, and compliance. Multi-tenant architecture can be a powerful business driver with a capable team and infrastructure setup.

Single-tenant versus multi-tenant cloud apps: which should you use?

Many considerations go into architectural decisions related to multi-tenancy, such as discovering target customers and regulatory bodies that govern data security and storage requirements, analyzing each customer’s revenue expectations, and reviewing customer volume.

As such, a final decision requires expert knowledge and careful planning. Whether a single-tenant or multi-tenant application is better for your business will depend on factors such as the number of customers you serve, your business model, whether you serve customers in highly regulated industries, and whether you serve customers that require separation. data physics. .

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