PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Fort Mill, SC, United States, 2010/09/12 - The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) world continues to debate the Single-Tenant vs. Multi-Tenant question as the value for this remarkable service is being recognized by more and more businesses.
As the names suggest, single-tenant systems house the data for one company only; multi-tenant systems house the data for multiple companies on one server. There are pros and cons of the different structures and the proponents for each are fierce and have legitimate arguments. The differences are more complicated though as the differences are technological, functional, and in security, and in they have different value depending on geography, industry type and a many other variables—hence the heated debate!
In short: multi-tenant systems place the data from multiple companies on the same server, generally separating them from each other via a simple partition that prevents the data from migrating from one company to another. Single-tenant architecture gives a user their own database and its own instance of the software application. Placed on its own individual server, or segregated via extensive security controls to create its own virtual server, users of single-tenant systems enjoy the benefits of significant configurability of software, robust functionality, and enhanced security. Essentially this is a “custom” solution meeting all of the specific and potentially complex idiosyncrasies of a particular business.
On one side, since a single-instance of a single-tenant application can be engineered for clients, any time on-demand, via virtualization and “the cloud,” it can be argued that the need to build a multi-tenant application is not there. The exact customization of the software allows the users greater functionality, and since the user is the only business using the server, there is inherently greater security. Of course this is a preferred option by so many users!
On the other side is the argument that the multi-tenant business architecture allows a SaaS vendor much more control over the actual usage of the system in ways a single-tenant system does not. The benefits are great in this instance, allowing the SaaS vendor the information which can allow them to:
• Improve customer service and retention;
• Reduce sales cycles and accelerate revenue;
• Gain and maintain competitive advantage;
• Improve strategic planning abilities;
• Directly monetize beyond the application.
When speaking of SaaS, it is easy for the users to get caught up in the minutia of the technology such as Improved Scalability, Operational Efficiency, Software Development Life Cycle management, etc., but that is not necessarily what the debate is really about. Multi-tenancy is really most valuable to the vendor. The user only benefits secondarily in the updates, pricing and support. However, these are important business factors and should be reasonably considered when making the decision on Multi vs. Single Tenancy SaaS!