Technology, Cloud

Multi–tenancy in the cloud: Understanding its benefits

Blog-post by,

Multi–tenancy refers to a principle in software architecture where a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers, also known as tenants and is regarded as one of the essential attributes of Cloud Computing. Multi-tenancy is the key common attribute for both public and private clouds and it applies to all three layers of a cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

Customers may have the ability to configure some parts of the application, such as the color of the user interface or business rules, but they can’t customize the application’s code. This means that although tenants are using the same building blocks in their configuration, the appearance or workflow of the application may be different for two tenants. Also, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of each tenant can differ.

Before making a decision regarding a multi-tenancy architecture, let’s make it more clear what this is all about:

  • High security: there are 3 key components that define the degree of isolation between multiple tenants in a data center: access policies, application deployment and data access and protection.
  • Economy: software development and maintenance costs are shared between the tenants.
  • Service assurance and faster updates: with multi-tenancy, the provider has to make updates once. In contrast with single-tenancy, an architecture in which each customer has their own software instance and may be given access to application code.
  • Efficiency and flexibility: A SaaS provider can run one instance of its application on one instance of a database and provide web access to multiple customers. Each tenant’s data is isolated and remains invisible to other tenants.

There are several degrees of multi-tenancy. According to ComputerWorld the degree of multi-tenancy is based on how much of a core application or SaaS, layer is designed to be shares across tenants:

  • Lowest degree: IaaS and PaaS are multi-tenant, while SaaS is single tenant.
  • Middle degree: IaaS and PaaS are multi-tenant. Small SaaS clusters are multi-tenant.
  • Highest degree: IaaS and PaaS are multi-tenant. SaaS is fully multi-tenant also.

Choosing your multi-tenancy degree is a decision that must take into account the characteristics of the workload. Higher degrees of multi-tenancy best fit for cross-industry utilitarian workloads such as sales force management. What degree of multi-tenancy best fits your business/ organization?

Would you like to comment on this content? Log in or Register.
Tech Marketer
Ali L 0 Points | Mon, 06/11/2012 - 23:06

Great piece of intermation. Well, I believe a shared Hosted Exchange environment is just that—shared. It’s also known as a multi-tenant Exchange environment. Multiple Hosted Exchange organizations on a single Exchange server. Customers will still have address list segregation and other features that make the multi-tenancy invisible to the end users, but there are many Exchange features that are not available in the model. Just to name a few:

  • Exchange Management Console
  • Public Folders
  • Unified Messaging Server Role
  • GalSync
  • Federation

The list continues and is quite extensive. This should be something a business looks into and considers very carefully based on how they already use their messaging system.



Ali L.

Pearl Zhu 90 Points | Fri, 06/08/2012 - 17:12

Hi, Risk, appreciate you sharing the insight about multi-tennency attibute, and the decison factors for the degree need be considered via vary factors such as efficieny, economy, availability, governance/security, now we know further, not every cloud has same degrees or you may say same dimensions. thanks