In recent months, the sandsiv+ solution has been increasingly adopted by enterprise customers with operations in multiple countries and multiple continents. The choice was not only dictated by the goodness and capabilities of the Voice of the Customer solution, but the choice of technological architecture was fundamental for many customers: today it is possible to use the sandsiv+ solution not only in the customer’s preferred Cloud (e.g. AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba, etc.) but also in the geographical node of their choice. All in a highly secure environment without sharing resources with other customers. A “Cloud-Native Single Tenant” solution. Let’s see how!

There is a truth about SaaS (software as a service) solutions that twist the definition of cloud-based technology. Is the solution offered by the vendor a lift and shift of their traditional software solution into the cloud? Or is it truly cloud-native, built from the ground up, to be optimized as a cloud solution?

The second big question is are we looking at a multi-tenant solution or a super-secure single-tenant cloud-native environment? This second question plays an important aspect, large international enterprises that have already moved infrastructure to the cloud prefer single-tenant cloud-native solutions, let’s see why.

Most of us view Software as a Service as something unique in the sense of giving. A black box from which you benefit from software in the form of a service, and there are no special distinctions. In reality, this is absolutely not true, the service offered by the software can be provided in a different way from this “black box” and the differences are profound especially at the level of security, privacy policy management, release management, and resource management. This difference is increasingly evident with the explosion of the use of Cloud services offered by major players such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba to name a few.

Does “classic” SaaS have limits?

Until the recent past, using a SaaS service didn’t make us ask too many questions: we receive service and how it is managed upstream is not exactly our problem. We have defined a clear Service Level Agreement (SLA) and this is enough for us to measure the quality of our service. And here comes the first food for thought: the innovation towards cloud services, the management of IT business ecosystems with microservices in containers, and the ease with which these containers are managed (concerted) with solutions such as Kubernetes have made everyone understand the big limits of the ‘classic’ SaaS “multi-tenant” approach with shared services and databases. A bit like the difference between living in a huge condominium and in a villa isolated by a beautiful park…with the possibility to build a swimming pool, if you want.

Why is the single multi-tenant difference important?

Because living in a villa surrounded by a park with a nice pool is better than living in a high-rise apartment with 1,000 other people sharing a single elevator! Joking aside, classic “SaaS” has advantages given by a multi-tenant architecture. A multi-tenant solution shares common resources including potentially a backend database to provide logical separation of data and permissions to isolate information, configurations, and runtime from other logical groups of users. If “multi-tenant” is based on Cloud-Native, then it provides a method to efficiently scale the solution and, if implemented correctly, prevents improper bleeding of data from one tenant to another while consuming shared resources.

In contrast, a single-tenant solution is the deployment of an application that does not share backend or database resources with another operational instance. That is, the runtime and data are dedicated to a single business, department, or organization, and a role-based access model is used to control permissions and isolate data sets. The separation of data and resources is physical, not logical as in multi-tenant.

Traditional on-premise technologies are generally thought of as single-tenant solutions, while cloud-based solutions are generally thought of as multi-tenant solutions. This was true until recently, but as is often the case, times change quickly especially in the technology space, which is why new solutions have emerged that take the best of both worlds: “Cloud-Native Single Tenant”. These solutions offer a not inconsiderable competitive advantage today and can create a great competitive advantage for your business. I’ve explained what Single Tenant is, but I haven’t dwelled on Cloud-Native. Cloud-Native is a type of architecture that allows you to take full advantage of Cloud Computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing, or “a model for enabling ubiquitous, cost-effective, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction,” is at the heart of well-known SaaS products like Salesforce, Google Apps, Slack, and Zoho. All of these examples fit the model of a centrally hosted service acquired via subscription (SaaS). It means that SaaS vendors manage, monitor, and maintain most of the technology stack needed to make the software work. The licensor simply consumes the service rather than managing the infrastructure and deployment within a cloud infrastructure service.

The combination of Cloud-Native and Single Tenant allows us to achieve all the benefits of both worlds: on-prem and saas. In particular: security, data privacy, disaster recovery, backup policies, and much more.

Is security something you don’t compromise on?

With any multi-tenant solution, there is always a risk of data hemorrhaging with another organization or a vulnerability affecting one organization being used to expose another’s data. This can be true even with a simple misconfiguration of the back end or an insecure third-party add-on that risks the security of the multi-tenant model. In essence, this is out of your control. Remember again, data is not physically segregated.

On the contrary, Your Cloud-Native Single Tenant is yours. You can manage the security according to your own policies and then customize it. Even though it’s a SaaS-based solution, you still have control over patch management and maintenance just like full versions, although the vendor will fully automate their installation. Since the solution is a single-tenant the data is physically segregated in your private environment. There is a much lower risk of data hemorrhage.

Is Data Privacy an important topic for your company?

Any multi-tenant solution does not allow you to enforce custom policies on your processes and data. Are you willing to have GDPR policies imposed on you, or do you want your recommendations enforced? Do you quietly agree to not enforce your disaster recovery and business continuity policies? If these are sensitive topics for your organization, then you should think about and consider the alternatives.

In a Cloud-Native Single Tenant environment, you will be the one managing the policies independently of others. That’s when GDPR will be handled according to the Data Privacy Agreement you’ve agreed with your customers, as well as all other security policies. Big plus.

Is release control important in your ecosystem?

A multi-tenant SaaS provider monitors when your version is updated and patched. They’ll provide a maintenance window for the update, and you’ll be forced to accept the changes even if it’s not in a desirable timeframe for your business. If the update introduces an unwanted change (bugs or incompatibilities), there is no way to undo the changes since multiple organizations are sharing the same multi-tenant shared resources.

In a “Cloud-Native Single Tenant” environment you will have the final say in managing releases. You’ll be able to ask to delay yours with respect to other customers, as well as to

So what is a Cloud-Native Single Tenant system?

As I mentioned earlier, imagine having all the benefits of on-prem in a Cloud solution that can scale both vertically and horizontally with a few clicks on your Cloud console, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or any other. Imagine being able to combine the advantages of Cloud-Native in your favor. In favor of your agility

Imagine being able to take advantage of a solution developed, designed, and deployed as cloud-native applications composed of several independent services. The independence of each service introduces the ability to maintain and scale, in isolation, horizontally rather than vertically. Each of the services should be automated for continuous integration and deployment through agile DevOps within a cloud infrastructure and comprehensive testing in place to ensure no service interruption for rapid deployment cycles.

Well, there’s no need to imagine because this vision already exists today. All of our sandsiv+ customers already benefit from a “Cloud-Native Single Tenant” solution that can respond to their specific requirements quickly and securely, passing through lower cost savings and rapid return on investment. All guaranteeing maximum agility and the possibility of releasing the solution in the Cloud chosen by the customer (even private in some cases) and in the geographical node of his choice.

Interested in a Voice Of the Customer solution proving to be a product of choice for multinational enterprise customers with operations around the world? Then contact us at SANDSIV and get a level of security and data privacy not available in the old multi-tenant architecture.

Not all SaaS are born equal
Federico Cesconi

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