Benefits of single vs multi tenant appsdittofi
In our article setting up single vs multi tenant apps on Dittofi, we saw how you can use Dittofi’s no-code solution to build both single and multi tenant apps. So you now know that Dittofi offers you the chance to set up both types of architectures for your clients – without writing any code.
The questions now are – which type of architecture is the correct one for you and why?
In this article we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of single vs multi tenant apps so that you can better inform yourself before starting your app development.
Benefits and drawbacks of a single tenant app architecture
The benefits of a single tenant app architecture include:
- Data security – Each customer’s data is isolated in its own database and on its own infrastructure. This minimizes the risk of a data breach that impacts multiple customers.
- Customization – More customizations are available in a single tenant system than in a multi tenant system because customers can have dedicated software and hardware.
- Portability – Migrating data is (generally speaking) easier with a single tenant app architecture. There are two main reasons for this. First, there is less data to handle than in a multi tenant solution. Second, because all of the data stored inside the database belongs only to one client, this means that the data can be exported without writing complex migration scripts that run the risk of mixing up client data.
The drawbacks of a single tenant app architecture include:
- Complex set up and management – for each new customer that you onboard, you will need to deploy a software instance, database and set up supporting infrastructure for each new customer. Each upgrade to your software then needs to also be done to multiple applications. This becomes increasingly complex and time consuming as you onboard more customers.
- High costs – In addition to the increase in costs that you will experience by having to deploy and maintain multiple versions of your software, database and infrastructure, there is also the additional cost of having to run multiple sets of infrastructure. This is dramatically more expensive than running a shared set of infrastructure.
- Inefficient resource usage – Generally speaking, in a single tenant environment, resource usage will be underutilized leading to inefficiencies and wasted money. This is because customers do not have the same usage patterns and therefore allocating the same amount of physical resources to all customers will mean some customers will require more resources than are made available, while others utilize less than are made available.
Benefits and drawbacks of a multi tenant app architecture
Some of the benefits associated with a multi tenant app architecture:
- Easy deployment – Multi-tenant apps only need to be deployed and maintained from one place. This makes it much faster and easier to organize deployments, upgrades and general maintenance tasks. Inside Dittofi, we allow you to deploy your app in a single click, making it faster to build, deploy, iterate and scale your applications. This is at the heart of all effective SaaS companies.
- Efficient resource usage – Unlike a single tenant architecture where resources are often underutilized, in a multi tenant environment resources are maximally used because they are shared by all customers.
- Reduced costs – Multiple customers sharing the same database and infrastructure is cheaper to manage and maintain. For example, a single PostgreSQL database running as an RDS instance inside Amazon Web Services, as is offered for apps built on Dittofi can hold all application data for millions of customers.
Some of the drawbacks associated with a multi tenant app architecture:
- Greater security risk – In a multi-tenant solution the risk of a data breach is higher because data lives in a shared database. Therefore if one customer’s data is compromised, it is more likely that it will affect other customers, unlike a single tenant cloud where security instances are isolated to a single cloud. In reality however, if the app is architected correctly, a multi-tenant app will be secure.
- Lack of cost visibility – In single tenant architecture, it is very clear what the costs are per client. However, in a multi tenant system where each customer has their own database it is much harder to separate out costs.
When to use a single vs multi tenant architecture
Apps that are deployed as single tenant architectures are generally required when the data protection requirements are higher. For example, applications developed for schools, healthcare or financial institutions often have very high privacy and security requirements.
In the United States healthcare industry, for example, apps must meet HIPAA requirements when dealing with patient data. This means that if you’re selling apps in this space, each hospital might need to have their own onsite instance of the app that you’ve developed to ensure compliance.
Dittofi makes this possible through our code export feature which allows you to export all of the source code for your app and then to set it up on private, dedicated infrastructure. Our Dittofi Experts are able to help you with this if you are not familiar with how to achieve this.
Most consumer facing apps should be built as multi-tenant applications. You can read how Dittofi achieves a multi-tenant architecture in our article “Setting up single vs multi tenant architectures on Dittofi”.
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