Single-Tenant vs Multi-Tenant Cloud ERP

Single-Tenant vs Multi-Tenant Cloud ERP

Cloud software has grown in recent years because it eliminates some major administration headaches for IT staff and provides access to applications from browser-enabled devices including PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile phones.

One common business question is whether to host their new cloud applications in either single-tenant or multi-tenant mode. This article takes a look at why businesses would want to choose one or the other.

History

Although the software world, including the ERP sector, is abuzz about cloud computing, it’s not exactly a new idea. The Multics project back in the ‘60s imagined an “information utility” that anyone could access remotely.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, computing was done on shared mainframes and minicomputers. It was only the early ‘80s when the IBM PC invaded the offices of both large and small companies that business people started to think of computers as truly personal. But as useful as personal computers were, they were isolated from each other. Organizations that tired of people shuffling floppy disks around invested in local area networks to share files, but these introduced their own headaches, requiring businesses to hire specialists to maintain the computer, networks and servers.

After the boom of the World Wide Web in the ‘90s, many businesses thought they could offload some of the complexity to new centralized services that had become available since around 2005, including Google’s apps and Microsoft Office 365.

The advantage of these “cloud” services was that the job of maintaining remote machines was left to the providers they’d hired, instead of internal IT workers. Businesses could concentrate on what they actually did best instead of having to contend with email or file storage.

With the growth of cloud services, the computing world has come full circle, going from data scattered around personal machines to centralized systems.

Single tenant or Multi-tenant?

With ERP, a centralized system is a better bet, because ERP has to tie together various different departments, such as management, accounting, supply chain and so on. Once a business has decided to purchase a cloud ERP solution, the selection committee must learn about complexities such as single-tenant and multi-tenant implementations.

A single-tenant solution is a single instance of a program running for a single company. For example, the Web browser you’re using to read this on your computer would be an example of a single-tenant solution. An example of a multi-tenant solution would be Google’s Gmail, which hosts hundreds of thousands of email accounts in a single application instance.

A cloud application can be single-tenant at various levels: from the operating system, to the machine, to the database, and the application itself.

The main trade-off between single-tenant and multi-tenant solutions is more control on one hand and greater efficiency of resources on the other.

Pros and Cons

Some advantages of a single-tenant solution:

– Maximum privacy: since there is only one instance for a user, there’s less risk of another business either accidentally or through corporate espionage snooping on data that doesn’t belong to them.
– It’s impossible to affect someone else’s tasks. Single-tenant solutions are more popular with enterprise businesses.
– Jobs with intensive computing requirements can make full use of the system.

The single-tenant mode also has some drawbacks:

– If the client decides to run the cloud on-premise, the client must bear the costs of the whole system alone.
– A single-tenant system is generally more expensive than a multi-tenant solution.
– A single-tenant system is generally not the most efficient use of resources, unless it’s fully loaded.
– For each instance, the underlying software, such as the operating system and runtime libraries, must be updated.

The multi-tenant solution also has some advantages and disadvantages:

– The downside is that a client does not have as much control over the environment.
– The solution is more popular with smaller businesses.
– A multi-tenant solution shares hardware and software costs.
– The software only had to be updated once, instead of multiple times for each instance of a single-tenant application.
– The solution makes maximum efficiency of computing resources, since it is shared among many companies. Most computer systems spend their time waiting for input from the user. Since there are many companies, there is always something for the machine to do. Virtualization also helps accomplish the same goals.

Some ERP systems offer a choice of deployments while others are more rigid in their drive towards efficiency.

No matter what system you end up choosing, the decision of whether to use multi-tenant or single-tenant depends on your business needs and the makeup of your organization. If you are unsure of your long term requirements or growth potential, I recommend selecting a vendor that provides the option to switch as you grow so you do not get locked in to an unfavorable payment model.

By Douglas Johnson

Douglas Johnson has over 20 years of experience in the software industry and currently works as the VP of Marketing and Business Development at cloud ERP software provider Acumatica.

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

One Response to Single-Tenant vs Multi-Tenant Cloud ERP

  1. Nexproc… I agree.  The thing is that providers who do not have a multi-tentant cloud offering try to blur this definite line.  Side note, yet another bonus of multi Tentant is support.  Multi Tenant system likely have a higher level of customer support since everyone is on the same version of software.  no more…”  let me find that old version and see when we fixed that bug…  Looks like you need an upgrade!”

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic –  The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Many people have heard of cloud computing. There is however a tremendous number of people who still cannot differentiate between Public, Private & Hybrid cloud offerings.  Here is an excellent infographic provided by the group at iWeb which goes into greater detail on this subject. Infographic source: iWeb About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009,

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Are Cloud Servers The Right Choice For Your Business?

Cloud servers offer power, flexibility, reliability, and client friendly hosting for small and medium businesses that have outgrown shared hosting. New business hosting clients are bombarded with an incredible diversity of different choices for their site’s hosting. It can be a challenge to negotiate the range of platforms and the marketing hype that many hosting

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Whitepapers

Top Research Assets

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

Explore how cloud computing is a solution to the problems facing data centers today and highlights the cutting-edge technology (including OpenStack cloud computing) that HP is bringing to the current stage. If you are a CTO, data center administrator, systems architect, or an IT professional looking for an enterprise-grade, hybrid delivery cloud computing solution that’s open,

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security Cloud applications are a priority for every business – the technology is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers compelling economic benefits to the enterprise. The challenge is that cloud applications increase the potential for corporate data to leak, raising compliance and security concerns for IT. A primary security concern facing organizations moving

Hewlett-Packard Company On-Demand Webinar

Hewlett-Packard Company On-Demand Webinar

Shifting Workloads and the Server Evolution Learn more about the latest industry trends and the challenges customers are talking about. Every ten to fifteen years, the types of workloads servers host swiftly shift. This happened with the first single-mission mainframes and today, as disruptive technologies appear in the form of big data, cloud, mobility and