What Is Cloud Multitenancy, and Why Is It Important?

What Is Cloud Multitenancy, and Why Is It Important?

The cloud is getting bigger and bigger as more enterprises migrate their data off-premise. This rapid expansion comes from a larger number of cloud providers and cloud-based services on the market. The challenge for cloud providers is serving their clients while maintaining the cost-efficiency that the cloud is known for. To help maintain this, providers have adopted a system of cloud multitenancy to their servers.

Cloud multitenancy is a system where multiple cloud users operate on the same server. This system allows cloud providers to effectively partition resources to users without installing unnecessary hardware. While multitenancy is undoubtedly useful for providers, the idea of sharing server space with other users might cause concern for enterprises. How can providers guarantee the security of the company’s data when it’s stored with somebody else’s? Below, we explain the basics of cloud multitenancy and why it’s so important for both providers and users.

What exactly is cloud multitenancy?

Cloud multitenancy refers to providers sharing computing resources to multiple users in a shared cloud environment. Each user is given their own separate resources based on their company’s needs, and only that user can see their own resources. Although multiple users store their data on one physical server, the servers are partitioned to keep every user’s information private.

The benefits of multitenancy

A notable advantage of multitenant environments is reduced costs. For providers, this allows them to keep build and maintenance costs down. Installing unique servers for each user might guarantee complete isolation of data, but it’s not the most economical model. Multitenancy lets providers ergonomically deliver resources to their users and get more value out of their servers.

Users also gain cost-related benefits out of multitenancy. If each user were given their own servers, it’s likely that providers would charge them a flat rate for each unit to help reduce operational costs. Multitenancy allows providers to adhere to the pay-as-you-use pricing model that attracts so many enterprises to the cloud.

Another advantage is that it’s easier for providers to push updates to a multitenant environment. Because multitenancy reduces the overall number of servers, it takes less time to deliver cloud updates to each user. The smaller infrastructure for providers simplifies cloud management, making it less difficult to deliver for their clients.

Is cloud multitenancy safe and secure?

The biggest hurdle that prevents people from agreeing to a multitenant public cloud deployment is security. They believe that because their data will be shared on a server with other users, that opens up security risks. These fears are fundamentally sound, and certainly multitenant environments can never be 100% secure. However, multitenant cloud providers do prioritize security within their environments. Providers include security features like data encryption, compliance with global regulations, and penetration testing with their multitenant deployments.

If a breach does occur, the provider knows it can’t just alert the users whose data is affected. It needs to, at the very least, inform every user on the breached server; if possible, every user on the infrastructure. However, the provider should also clarify to each user whether or not their data is at risk. Finally, they should outline steps the enterprise can take to keep their data safe until the breach is contained.

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Daniel Hein