Introduction To Azure SaaS

Comparison of Single-tenancy and Multi-tenancy Azure SaaS Applications

Common examples of SaaS (Software as a Service) are cloud-based programs available in Office 365, such as Microsoft Office tools, email, calendaring, etc. Software as a Service enables users to use these applications over an Internet connection.

A Software as a Service provider offers software solutions to companies and enterprises, 24/7, which their users can access using a mobile or web-based application. SaaS providers give comprehensive support to the application software, middleware, and cloud infrastructure while storing the application data in their data centers. 

Providers, such as Microsoft Azure SaaS, help organizations to get started with an application at a nominal upfront cost. Azure SaaS, as per the service agreement, manages the software and hardware, ensuring application availability and security of business-critical data.

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Decoding SaaS Applications

Whether you are a start-up, an established company, or a software vendor, chances are your next app will be in the cloud. When applications are in the cloud, you are adopting SaaS on a cloud architecture.

But, developing a SaaS application differs from Software as a Product (SaaP) solution in several ways. This article illustrates an important feature you need to consider when designing your Software as a Service application on the Azure cloud.

The first thing to figure out is whether to go for a single-tenancy or a multi-tenancy SaaS application. The tenancy model of an application specifies how data gets stored in the database. Both approaches have fundamental differences with their share of pros and cons. Which model to use depends on what you want your application to do.

For instance, single-tenancy SaaS applications are ideal for companies or government agencies that need specialized application instances for individual users with independent data storage. Multi-tenancy SaaS applications include multiple users, who share an application instance and the storage infrastructure of the app users in the cloud.

Related Page: Microsoft Azure Application Gateway

Summary of Crucial Points to Consider in Single-tenancy and Multi-tenancy Azure SaaS Applications 

A single-tenancy Azure SaaS application is easy to deploy and customize. The development is fast, and much less expensive, as compared to multi-tenancy SaaS applications. A single-tenancy application boosts user confidence, as most users get uncomfortable sharing information on common storage accessed by other people.

A multi-tenancy Azure SaaS application is complex, and it takes time and effort to create and deploy. Developing a multi-tenancy application, as opposed to single-tenancy, is more costly, but the app offers ample customization options to meet user demands. A multi-tenancy application, however, involves convincing the users that shared applications can still keep data safe. As the customer base grows over time, the app becomes less expensive to run.

For software vendors, single-tenancy applications are excellent platforms to move and test an existing SaaP solution in SaaS. This approach enables software vendors to measure the demand for an application before investing money and time in designing a multi-tenancy SaaS model. Single-tenancy applications are ideal for banking and financial markets, where users demand high-level customization, trust, and top-grade security.

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A downside of the single-tenancy application is that it gets expensive when serving a sizable pool of users. Due to this, multi-tenancy SaaS applications are perfect for companies, as the cost of service goes lower as users continue to grow. Multi-tenancy models, such as the ones created with Microsoft Azure SaaS, offer high customization opportunities, important in the enterprise market.

Unless customers demand stringent security standards, a multi-tenancy SaaS application makes sense for big organizations and startups looking to serve an increasing number of users. Companies having a large user base should kick off in the cloud with multi-tenancy SaaS applications. This will lower costs in the long run and offer resources for customization. Building a multi-tenancy model from the ground up is fast and easy with Azure SaaS.

Related Topic: What is Azure Application Insights?

In Multi-tenancy SaaS Applications, Tenants, or Users, Are Not Just Billing Relationships -

Application developers should take into account the following -

  • Performance Optimization: Users might know they are using shared applications, but that does not mean they are ready to accept constant performance variations, breakages, and downtimes.  Creating a multi-tenancy SaaS application offering optimized performance with fluctuating users is not an easy task. But, trying for performance optimization is crucial, and Azure SaaS makes this complex thing simple for application developers.
  • Application Customization: Multi-tenancy SaaS applications do not allow to change the app code, but this tenancy model offers great opportunities to customize the application behavior. Microsoft released a Developer's Guide with how-to instructions on integrating custom SaaS applications with Azure Active Directory. The Developer's Guide provides technical know-how on building customizable Azure SaaS apps for mobiles and websites.
  • Isolation of App Data: Maybe, most customers know of accessing a shared, single infrastructure, but every customer expects isolation of their work and data from other users. An important condition of a multi-tenancy approach is to make sure user data is safe. Customers should be comfortable using a shared storage infrastructure. Microsoft Azure AD controls data access through password-based single sign-on (SSO). The Azure Active Directory enables seamless password SSO, irrespective of the hosting location of SaaS applications.
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Application Access

SaaS applications should integrate user-based access control to grant their users access to relevant data. Azure AD’s identity and access control empower organizations with centralized management of user accounts across Azure SaaS applications. Azure Active Directory's password SSO governs access to Azure SaaS apps based on a user’s organizational account. 

A major concern of multi-tenancy SaaS applications is accommodating user traffic. Since many users access multi-tenancy application models at the same point in time, the chances of application crashing are high. To support heavy user traffic, the need for scalability is high too. This is one reason for more time and effort involvement in developing multi-tenancy SaaS applications.

Be its cloud services, websites, or virtual machines - no matter whatever the execution model is - the application must be scalable to bear the expected user load. With Azure SaaS, leverage the best scalability, security, elasticity, and recoverability of applications. Enjoy limitless scaling with geo-redundancy and high availability of SaaS applications only on Microsoft Azure AD.


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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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