There’s a debate in the industry on what path to choose for UC architecture: is it better to select multi-instance environments or multi-tenant environments?
Many companies have opted for environments that make it easy to redirect on-premise systems to the cloud, even if it’s a quick fix, leveraging multi-instance environments.
Let’s define that in more detail.
By taking a premise-based private branch exchange (PBX) that runs on a server and virtualizing it using VMware or similar technology in a data center, each customer or tenant gets their own virtual machine (VM) – hence, multiple VM instances, and multiple private clouds to maintain. This VM environment is then wrapped with other services such as public switched telephone network (PSTN) access and business and operational support systems (B/OSS). An easy play for legacy providers to move their on-premise systems to the cloud, this often the preferred approach for those who have made significant physical, hardware-based investments.
But there’s another way.
The multi-tenant approach allows UC providers to support one instance of their platform, serving all customers simultaneously across a shared infrastructure of many VMs – hence multiple tenants in one cloud. This approach requires a foundational commitment – and investment – in a proprietary cloud: you have to develop your platform to be multi-tenant from the start. It’s difficult to retrofit multi-tenancy after the fact. And in a multi-tenant architecture, you don’t rely on VM boundaries to separate customers. You use logical controls in your code to create separation between tenants.
So, what are the advantages to multi-tenant architecture? We’ve outlined three for you.
- Greater scale for service load volume. With more endpoints available on fewer VMs, it costs less for a multi-tenant service to operate. With shared infrastructure, providers get efficiencies of load sharing – a benefit that can be passed over to the customer for maximum impact.
- Easy failover for minimal disruption. If a node goes down, customers can rest assured that systems will stay up and running. Why? Because each cluster in a multi-tenant environment is performing the same function, making it easy to shift to another cluster to operate until things are again running smoothly.
- SaaS stamp of approval. The SaaS companies you most admire operate on multi-tenant architecture more often than not. Take Salesforce.com, for example. They’re running things this way. Companies who get the cloud realize that to build the proper UC system, one that is ready to scale with them, requires a multi-tenant approach. It’s a simple as that.
Need more convincing? Take a look at our whitepaper, 5 Reasons Why Multi-Tenant Unified Communications Beats Multi-Instance, for additional insight.