Is there a different way to look at SaaS multitenant model with the advent of cloud from a business perspective? Should we see with same eyes in the cloud too?
When SaaS applications were developed, ISVs hosted them on private data centres and offered them as service. ISVs came with pricing model that covered the machine cost, the software license cost and the application cost. When they handle machine cost and license cost, they want to optimize this cost and take care of times when the machine is not used and started with hosting multiple tenants on same database. Then they wanted to reduce Web Server cost and decided to host sample applications for multiple tenants in one machine.
There were advantages what SaaS characteristics brought to the table in pre-cloud times.
• As SaaS vendor, I am interested to know features that are most used by the customer and least used by the customer and put my money accordingly. As enterprise, I look for consolidate view across various departments in my organizations. Effectively Data residing in single db across multiple tenants could be easily used to consolidate, identify trends and insights to features of the application both for ISV and both for enterprise
• As enterprise, I do not want to keep on buying machines and software license. This was because the machines were costly and it was not possible to get them on demand. No one other than Saas Vendor offered by subscription model.
• As enterprise, Based on SaaS maturity model, the SaaS vendor was enforcing some rules on the freedom of end customer and end customer was happy due to above point.
• As enterprise, SaaS Vendor ran it as separate business. They had no easy integration with Active directory as they need to be seamless to customer
Today, when we look the advantages that SaaS characteristics bring to the table cloud days for the above ones, I see them different
• Has things not become simpler with (Hadoop, MapReduce) even if there are in multiple data stores, start a instance for short time which perform the crunching and release the instance.
• As enterprise, I no more need to buy machines and licenses for a long time. There is a subscription model which was not available earlier from providers other than SaaS vendors.
• As enterprise, I am looking for more independence to customize my applications as I have ways to follow subscription model.
• As enterprise, SaaS vendor if they run on cloud as single tenant on end customer infrastructure, then can integrate with different active directories. My backup would be more simpler than when it is multi-tenant
Cloud is enabling the end customer to take care of economics by a subscription model for the hardware and software licenses and if the SaaS vendor provides pricing model independent of these costs, wil it not be to advantage of the end user?
To conclude, Cloud is enabling enterprise to demand more on the product/application for flexibility and ease of use and sustenance.
1. In case of large enterprise, muti tenancy may not be desirable in all scenarios as they come with their own constraints vs. benefits.
2. One can write application to support multi-tenancy, and have the capability to be deployed to the cloud, ISVs should allow customer to make the decision of using the application as multi-tenant or single tenant.
3. when there is cloud, multi tenancy may not be the only factor for scalability, involve the customer and he might already have resources for scalability.