March 31, 2023

Single-Tenant vs. Multi-Tenant SaaS Architecture


In the early days of the internet, single-tenant architecture was the norm. If you wanted to publish a website or an app, you had to get your own on-premise server. Then you would manage both your app and the hardware.

Later, cloud services were introduced that manage the hardware and just rent you access. You would still have one physical machine that is distinctly "yours", and only your app would be running on it.

This 1-to-1 relationship between your app and your hardware is called a single-tenant architecture.

On the other hand, the multi-tenant architecture allows multiple users (with multiple apps) to exist on a single server without affecting each other.

Low-code technology is one example of multi-tenant architecture. Applications built with low code are automatically scalable without even needing to hire a DevOps team. It just works.

Plus, the additional benefit of low code is being able to create SaaS apps 3X more cost-effectively than using traditional programming. Who can say "no" to that?

Single-Tenant vs. Multi-Tenant Pros And Cons

Today, single-tenant architecture is only used in specific use cases. The majority of the time, multi-tenant architecture is preferred due to its benefits:

  • Lower costs
  • Easily scalable
  • More robust

Lower Costs

You rarely need the server's full power, and if you rent an entire machine, you'd be overpaying for resources you don't require.

With a multi-tenant architecture, you only pay for the resources you use. And this results in better hardware utilization and, ultimately, lower costs.

Easily Scalable

The only way to scale a single-tenant application is to move it to a bigger server. This is not a very quick process, and in case you have a sudden, unexpected surge in users, you cannot adapt quickly.

As a result, your users will experience slow or completely unavailable service. The only way to avoid this is to acquire a strong enough architecture to handle usage peaks.

But that approach is wasteful and expensive because, most of the time, this architecture sits idle. Even though you had to buy/rent this hardware in advance.

Multi-tenant apps don't have this problem because they are distributed across many servers and can take on as much traffic as required. During peak times, more servers can be automatically added to increase your app's computing capacity.

More Robust

Your application doesn't have a single point of failure. If the physical server your apps are running on goes out, all the apps (including yours) will be restarted on another server.

Your users won't even know anything went wrong. And this is very important, especially in today's world where a bad reputation can spread like wildfire through social media and your competitors are just a click away.

Speed, reliability, and great user experience are a must. And the easiest way to get it is through multi-tenant architecture.

Architecture Management (DevOps)

Regardless of your approach, single-tenant or multi-tenant, you always have the problem of initial architecture setup. As well as maintenance to a higher or lesser degree.

Depending on the scale of your SaaS (or other) application, you have to hire at least one person. Sometimes, an entire team is required.

This is what's usually known as DevOps.

Their main job is to connect different parts of architecture so it can work in a stable and scalable way. To make sure:

  • Enough storage space is available
  • Application can scale up (and down) depending on the traffic amount
  • Static resources are available worldwide
  • Etc.

But, as you will see, there are better ways of solving this problem.

Easy Solution To A Complex Problem

Just as technology progressed from having a physical server in your building to much easier cloud solutions, now it went a step further.

Low-code technology allows you to:

And the best part is that developers can learn how to use low-code technology within 1-2 days.

This way, you solve your productivity and architecture concerns all at once.

How Does Low-Code Architecture Work?

Low-code architecture is built upon existing technologies like JavaScript, MySQL, GraphQL, and AWS. It was envisioned as an extension of these technologies.

This means low code leverages existing technology to create 3X more productive experience for software developers.

Any project using low code immediately has a significant market advantage because traditional programming methods simply cannot compete with this level of productivity.

Since low code extends widely-spread technologies developers already know and use, the learning curve is extremely short (1-2 days).

When it comes to complexity, you can think of this technology more in terms of switching to a new low-code IDE rather than learning a new programming language or framework.

Future Of Low-Code Architecture

Similar to how on-premise servers are now largely replaced with cloud solutions, low code will replace traditional programming within this decade. Especially when it comes to SaaS applications.

  • Agencies that use low code will be more competitive (easily finding clients)
  • Startups will require a smaller budget and innovate faster
  • Scaling a company will be easier because fewer people will be required
  • More projects than ever will be started because of the lower barrier to entry

Overall, low-code technology will single-handedly usher in a new era of innovation because many more ideas will be realized with the same amount of developer time and effort.

To Sum It Up

Aside from narrow, specific use cases, multi-tenant architecture is a clear winner for the majority of SaaS applications.

Low-code technology exposes you to all the benefits of multi-tenant architecture and revolutionary 3X more productive software development.

And since low code is built upon existing technologies, developers can learn it within 1-2 days and immediately become more productive.

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