Multi Tenant Architecture

Multitenancy is a software architecture where a single application instance serves multiple customers. In a multi-tenant environment, all customers share the same application code and database, but each has its own data set. This approach is commonly used in SaaS products.

The main benefit of multitenancy is cost efficiency. It allows for economies of scale as the same infrastructure and code base can be used for multiple customers, reducing development and maintenance costs. Updates and upgrades only need to be done once to benefit all customers.

This article will focus on database models and programming, excluding domain models.

What is Multitenancy?

Multitenancy is a software architecture where a single instance of a software application serves multiple customers, known as tenants. In this setup, all tenants share the same application code and infrastructure, including the database, but each tenant has its own set of data and configuration.

Imagine a multitenant software application in a large apartment building. The building (the application) is shared by multiple tenants (customers), each living in their apartment (data and configuration). While tenants share the same building structure (code and infrastructure), they have exclusive access to their living space (data and configuration).

This architecture is commonly used in Software as a Service (SaaS) products, where a single software application serves multiple users over the internet. For example, a SaaS customer relationship management (CRM) system may have various companies using the same application, each with customer data and settings.

The main advantage of multitenancy is cost efficiency. By sharing resources among multiple tenants, such as servers, storage, and code base, providers can reduce costs compared to maintaining separate instances for each customer. It also simplifies maintenance and updates, as changes only need to be applied once to benefit all tenants.

However, multitenancy requires careful design to ensure data isolation and security between tenants. Proper authentication, authorization, and data segregation mechanisms are essential to protect each tenant’s data from unauthorized access.

Multi-tenant Architecture: What Are the Benefits?

Multi-tenant architecture offers several benefits for businesses looking to move their applications to the cloud or deploy SaaS solutions. Some of the most notable advantages include:


With one application serving multiple tenants, companies can easily scale up or down quickly and efficiently without managing multiple dedicated systems. This scalability makes it much easier to accommodate seasonal spikes in demand or adjust usage based on customer needs.

Cost Savings

Multitenancy allows companies to reduce costs by leveraging shared resources instead of having separate systems dedicated to one tenant at a time. This means businesses needn’t invest in additional servers or hardware to meet customer demands, helping to save money in the long run.

Increased Efficiency

Multi-tenant architecture increases efficiency by allowing multiple tenants to share resources such as compute power and storage space without sacrificing performance. This makes it easier for businesses to manage large workloads without having to invest in additional hardware or software licenses.

Easy Maintenance/Management

Multi-tenant architecture is much easier to maintain and manage than single-tenant architecture because all tenants share the same underlying codebase and platform. This means businesses don’t have to worry about managing multiple versions of their application across different platforms — they can focus on addressing one version across all tenants.


In multi-tenant architecture, tenants can customize their assigned environment to meet their individual needs and preferences by setting up unique configurations, options, and branding. This allows tenants to effectively use the shared multi-tenant application for their specific use cases, such as filtering data by different branches or locations and creating specified metrics and dashboards.

Tenant Privacy

Each tenant receives access to a dedicated space where they can analyze their data and view their dashboards. This space can be separated from other tenants’ access or accessible to an authorized user group; each tenant is restricted by their assigned role and dedicated permission to manage the analytics environment.

These benefits make multi-tenant architecture an attractive option for businesses looking to streamline operations, reduce costs, and provide a better experience for their customers.

Which Multi-tenant Architecture is Right for You?

Choosing the exemplary multitenant architecture for your organization depends on several factors, including data sensitivity, legal requirements, the number of clients, and your organizational structure.

Two main types of multitenant architectures exist shared databases and separate databases. Another option is to use the same schema with prefixed tables within a database instance, as seen in WordPress multisite installations.

Shared Database Architecture

In a shared database architecture, all clients share the same database instance. Data from multiple or all tenants is stored in the same database, with separation enabled by identifiers like grouped or organization at the code level. While some cite lower security as a disadvantage, clean and robust implementation can ensure proper separation of clients.

Separate Database Architecture

Each tenant has its own database instance in a separate database architecture, providing the highest level of data isolation. This approach is more complex and costly but may be necessary for applications with legal requirements for data segregation.

Choosing the Right Architecture

  • Consider data sensitivity and legal requirements: A separate database architecture may be more appropriate if your application deals with susceptible data or has legal requirements for data segregation.
  • Evaluate scalability needs: Shared database architectures are typically more cost-effective and more accessible to implement but may have limitations in scalability.
  • Assess budget and resources: Separate database architectures require more resources and may be costlier to implement and maintain.

Advantages of Multitenancy with a Single Database

In a multi-tenant Laravel system utilizing a central database, you benefit from all the advantages that Laravel offers. This setup ensures a superior developer experience and an efficient development process.

One significant advantage is that there is no requirement for extensive modifications to the core Laravel system. This simplifies the maintenance of the project for future version updates.

Additionally, you can quickly onboard new clients without creating separate databases for each client. This is made possible through a simple registration process facilitated by Laravel’s tools.

Separate Database Multitenancy

In a separate database multitenancy setup, each tenant has its database instance. This ensures that each tenant’s data is kept separate from other tenants, which is crucial for meeting legal requirements regarding data segregation.

However, this approach comes with complexities and higher costs. Once implemented, it can be challenging or even impossible to reverse. Therefore, careful consideration is essential before choosing this path. If the requirements do not necessitate it, opting for a single-database multitenancy approach is more advisable.

Disadvantages Of Multi-Tenancy

Before switching to a multi-tenant cloud offering, it’s just as important to be aware of the limitations and drawbacks of using this type of architecture. The following are a handful of multi-tenancy’s most notable disadvantages.

Lacks Customizability

Multi-tenant architecture is considered an off-the-shelf product, and since businesses will share software and hardware resources with multiple other customers, they’re limited in the changes they can implement. This reduction in control can hinder business operations and a team’s progress online, as certain features may be missing while others are in the way.

Competing For Limited Resources

While most service providers put in their best efforts to keep the resources well-divided between various users, this isn’t always guaranteed. With multiple customers using the same system resources and computing power, companies might start suffering from “noisy neighbor” syndrome, where they can’t access the resources they need, and operations slow down. Luckily, there are provisioning protocols that can be put in place to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. This includes load balances and elastic cloud computing.

Migration Difficulty

While multi-tenant architectures are easy to adapt, they can be hard to leave. Migrating data from a multi-tenant environment to any other type of environment can be a challenge because personal data is scattered all over the shared cloud, wherever there’s room for it.

Security And Privacy Challenges

Even with careful provisioning protocols and partitioning between the various VMs, companies are still sharing hardware with other users who aren’t authorized to access their part of the cloud. Normally, this isn’t a problem. However, malicious individuals could try to take advantage of such a vulnerability. It could also occur unintentionally. Instances of data corruption have the possibility to spread through the entirety of the software instance. A malicious attack that was targeting other users on the shared public cloud may end up reaching a different user and their sensitive data.

Global Problems And Downtime

By outsourcing data and operations to an external cloud managed by a third-party service provider, companies risk losing access to critical data and information in the case of a technical error. Also, cloud environments are susceptible to downtime; although, it’s minimal with the top providers.

Using multiple databases with Laravel

Using multiple databases with Laravel allows you to develop multi-tenant software with ease. This approach, compatible with the Laravel framework, enables the creation of a separate database for each client, ensuring the physical isolation of data. This is particularly beneficial for companies requiring extensive data separation.

Spatie’s “Multitenancy” package is recommended for managing separate databases per client. This package simplifies the handling of individual databases for each client and offers useful Artisan commands for administration. However, implementing a multi-database setup comes with its own set of challenges.

One such challenge is consistently identifying the current tenant in all requests, artisan commands, queues, etc. This tenant awareness ensures operations are performed on the correct database. Additionally, onboarding new clients requires creating a unique database for each client during registration, which can be laborious if not automated. While automation can simplify this process, it adds complexity to the infrastructure, necessitating careful consideration.

Real Advantages of Multitenant Software

The natural advantages of using multi-tenant software are numerous. Firstly, it leverages economies of scale, allowing for cost-effective solutions that benefit multiple clients. Additionally, it offers near-instant elasticity, meaning the software can quickly adapt to changing demands. Furthermore, it enhances software quality by increasing test coverage, ensuring a more robust and reliable product.

With a single instance of the software serving multiple clients, costs are significantly lowered compared to traditional development models. Laravel provides all the necessary resources to develop a multi-tenant system without additional packages. By organizing data under a single database with a model like “Organization,” the app can efficiently manage resources for each client.

Developers can use PHPUnit tests to ensure that data remains isolated between clients, maintaining security and privacy. Employing Test Driven Development (TDD) is crucial in these projects, as it helps communicate the necessity and benefits of these efforts to clients early on in the development process.


In conclusion, multi-tenant architecture is a powerful approach for building scalable and cost-effective software applications. Businesses can achieve significant cost savings, scalability, and efficiency by serving multiple clients or tenants from a single application instance.

In Laravel applications, implementing multi-tenancy involves careful planning and adherence to best practices. Laravel provides several features and tools, such as database migrations, middleware, and routing, that make it well-suited for building multi-tenant applications. Developers can choose between different approaches, such as database-per-tenant or shared-database, based on their specific requirements and scalability needs.

Overall, multi-tenant architecture offers numerous benefits for businesses looking to optimize resource utilization and streamline operations. With the proper implementation and management practices, multi-tenant applications can provide a seamless experience for tenants and application administrators, making them a valuable choice for modern software development projects.

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