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What are multi-tenant applications?

EducationToday, let’s explain an important term in the world of application development: multi-tenancy. What is it, why is it important, and how does it help your company? Let me explain.

The concept of multi-tenancy revolves around a single instance of a software application that serves different users/customers (also called “tenants”). In a multi-tenant application, different users access the same application, but see different data.

Why use Multi-tenancy?

Multi-tenancy is a simple and cost-effective way to reach many users with a single application. Imagine building a separate application for every user or user role in your organization. That would be a maintenance nightmare, as you’d be stuck updating multiple versions of a single application with every change.

Multi-tenancy simplifies maintenance, as there’s only a single application. It lets you deliver an application to different users, yet maintain only one instance.

How is it used?

Multi-tenant applications are used primarily in two ways: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and internal, role-based applications.

  • SaaS vendors use multi-tenant architecture to serve multiple customers with a single instance of their software application. Rather than selling each customer a separate piece of software, they license out partitions of their software.
  • Internal applications often use a multi-tenant approach to hide or show data to different users. Take a sales application for example. A sales person may only see their own sales and projections, whereas a sales manager will see every salesperson’s sales and projections–using the same application. Companies take this approach to avoid building multiple applications for different user levels.

Demo of a multi-tenant application

Here’s a great demo of an internal, role-based multi-tenant application in action. It lets various levels of employees access the same application, yet view only the data that applies to them. Do you see how that might be useful in your company?

Of course, if you’d like to learn more about building multi-tenant applications for your company, let us know. Just fill out this form and tell us what you’d like to accomplish.