In cloud computing, multitenancy means that multiple customers of a cloud vendor are using the same computing resources. Despite the fact that they share resources, cloud customers aren’t aware of each other, and their data is kept totally separate. Multitenancy is a crucial component of cloud computing; without it, cloud services would be far less practical. Multitenant architecture is a feature in many types of public cloud computing, including IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, containers, and serverless computing.
What are the benefits of multitenancy?
Many of the benefits of cloud computing are only possible because of multitenancy. Here are two crucial ways multitenancy improves cloud computing:
Better use of resources: One machine reserved for one tenant isn’t efficient, as that one tenant is not likely to use all of the machine’s computing power. By sharing machines among multiple tenants, use of available resources is maximized.
Lower costs: With multiple customers sharing resources, a cloud vendor can offer their services to many customers at a much lower cost than if each customer required their own dedicated infrastructure.
It’s easily scalable. Building off of the advantage of cost-effectiveness, this advantage means customers can add or remove resources as needed. This flexibility is perfect for organizations that are growing fast but unpredictably.
It’s secure and offers more privacy. While it’s true that a single tenancy is more secure, multitenancy is nevertheless still good at threat detection and keeping tenants’ resources separate from each other.
Multitenancy comes in three degrees:
Low: IaaS and PaaS are multi-tenant; SaaS is single-tenant.
Middle: IaaS and PaaS are multi-tenant; small SaaS clusters are multi-tenant.
High: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are fully multi-tenant.
How to choose your multi-tenancy degree
One size doesn’t fit all when choosing between different degrees of multi-tenancy. The characteristics of the workload in question have to be carefully studied first, including the workload’s utilitarian versus strategic value, volatility, security, etc. Higher degrees of multi-tenancy are best suited for cross-industry utilitarian workloads such as catalog management and sales force management.
These applications can very easily share the same schema and also benefit from a rapidly evolving set of features that are best developed centrally by a vendor or a corporate shared services team. They also tend to have simpler security requirements such as encryption and authorization. That’s why public clouds are attractive multi-tenant platforms for “low-hanging fruit” types of workloads such as e-mail, collaboration, situational applications (expense reporting, travel authorization) and pre-production activities (development, user training and functional/acceptance testing).
For each such workload, IT managers need to determine the degree of multi-tenancy needed, and accordingly choose their providers from a growing list of vendors
Multitenancy applications let hosts serve many customers or clients with one application introduction. Every customer’s data is separate from the others. Remember, customers are called “tenants.”
These are the characteristics of multitenancy applications.
View: Tenants can characterize their application stylings, such as user interfaces (UI).
Users and groups: Tenants can change and customize their own principles to facilitate data access control.
Data set composition: Tenants can characterize a chosen database schema for the application. This schema includes renaming database fields, removing/adding database tables, and more.
Business rules: Tenants can frame their own business rules and application rationale.
Multi-tenancy is the core tenet of cloud computing. While multi-tenancy takes forward some of the concepts of mainframe computing to the x86 server ecosystems, its ongoing efforts to scale up these mainframe concepts to support thousands of intra- and inter-enterprise tenants (not users) are complex, commendable and quite revolutionary. It’s only when the required degree of multi-tenancy is incorporated into all the layers of public and private clouds that the promises of improved scalability, agility and economies of scale can be fully delivered.