The invention of cloud computing provides many benefits to companies today. A wide range of digital services are now available for use and are easier to manage because of their availability on the cloud.
One of the terms that have been trending in the world of cloud computing is multi-tenant architecture. Many organizations use this approach because of its efficiency and ease of use.
But what exactly is multi-tenant architecture?
What Is Multi-Tenant Database Architecture?
A multi-tenant database architecture — simply called multi-tenancy — is a type of architecture where a single software application instance serves multiple users or tenants. This approach allows several instances of the given program to work within an environment that many users share.
This also means that the single instance operates on a server while accommodating several tenants simultaneously. These users can integrate physically by sharing dedicated instances of data, settings, and other features.
In other words, multi-tenancy is where multiple tenants get to use the same physical resources within a single platform. The main difference it has with other platforms is that each user gets their own logical isolated instance of the program.
Organizations can configure their multi-tenant architecture in different ways. These include the following:
Separate Database Per Client/Tenant
A separate database per client/tenant approach means each tenant will have their own database. This allows them to have datasets that are separate from others.
- Pros: It provides high security and is customizable based on tenant requirements.
- Cons: Separate databases mean higher maintenance and hardware costs.
Shared Database With Different Tables Grouped Per Schema for Every Client/Tenant
In this approach, all of the tenants will be set within the same database. The main difference here is that their tables will be categorized based on a schema.
Compared to the separate database approach where isolation is at a database level, this method will isolate tenants according to their tables.
- Pros: This has a low cost while having the ability to address specific security concerns.
- Cons: Restoring data for a single tenant is hard.
Tables, Schema, Database – Everything Is Shared
For this setting, the entire database — along with the tables — is shared by all tenants. The tables will have similar attributes and maintain data for multiple tenants in various orders.
- Pros: This has the lowest cost of the three types mentioned.
- Cons: Data security is lacking.
Components in Multi-Tenant Testing
To test a multi-tenant database architecture, quality assurance teams need to ensure all multi-tenant database best practices are followed. This means that having the right parts in place is necessary to succeed.
The following are the three main components involved:
The application in a multi-tenancy approach can host multiple tenants using a single code. Compared to other testing methods, the software used here requires testing to be performed based on multi-tenant isolation, access privilege, role validation, and application information.
Multi-tenant software has its own infrastructure — or hardware — to support its capabilities. To work accordingly, the physical asset should have the capacity to match the software.
This infrastructure has a direct impact on the speed, loading time, transmission, backup protocols, and data storage of the program.
The third primary component is the network used by the multi-tenant provider to host its platform. Developing a multi-tenant network is often the first step that leads to isolating data and apps.
Types of Testing for Multi-Tenant Systems
Despite being a unique approach, testers can conduct the testing of multi-tenant architecture in different ways. The main types to consider are:
Data Leak Testing
Data leak testing ensures that all workflows in a shared database are working as expected. Any errors here could result in locked data and continuously looping sessions.
A deadlock has to be addressed immediately to avoid wasting time and resources.
In license/feature/interface testing, testers work to confirm that the necessary components set for clients are in working order. This is especially true with the growing demand for backward compatibility nowadays.
Compatibility assurance is necessary to make sure that end-users don’t need to perform changes on their end once updates are released.
Multi-Tenant System Under Load
Systems following a multi-tenancy approach need load tests to guarantee performance and determine if there are any bottleneck situations present in the platform. This type of test validates the system’s stability under load, which can often result in data leaks. Additionally if the tests discover that one tenant obstructs a significant portion of the resource, testers make sure that the performance of all other tenants are not affected.
Security and Privacy Testing
In security and privacy testing, the data will be thoroughly tested to ensure security among various tenants. This approach involves using proper authorization and authentication protocols to guarantee proper security. Additionally, preventing SQL injection and testing cookies is an important aspect of running security tests on multi-tenant applications.
When such testing is implemented successfully, SQL attacks can be avoided completely.
Simulative Live Upgrade Testing
Simulative live upgrade testing ensures that there is no downtime when live upgrades are performed. Updates are already complicated, and being unable to work because of them can lead to further problems.
That’s why having the right deployment strategy — along with a simulative live upgrade test — is vital to guarantee success.
Database Architecture Review
Database architecture review ensures that all database objects are in proper shape to keep track of data integrity, and data duplication issues. Moreover, certain conditions are reviewed, like, if the current database architecture is capable of accumulating entity level customization for individual tenants. Additionally this review also includes white box testing of all database objects like stored procedures, triggers, and functions. Since a bad code can lead to multiple problems, like bad quality data, and data duplication, it is important to review the database architecture of a multi-tenant environment.
Automation testing is vital in a multi-tenant system as it allows you to check for any data leaks that could occur when active. Testers need to run these tests across all tenants at the same time to mimic the automation process. Additionally, different automation testing suites need to be defined since even with very small code, changes need to be verified with possible impact analysis.
In automation testing, QA teams have data flow maps that are ready to be used, as they carry out the automation to check if there are any data leaks in the nodes.
Proactive monitoring is vital for a large multi-tenant environment. Typically, this involves employing highly sophisticated security tools to monitor platform activity, including application database activity, in real-time. Tools flag all threats and potentially malicious events. Smart event management tools correlate user actions and event data, and flag potential internal and external threats, in real-time. Real-time monitoring helps to counter threats as they emerge to ensure the system, once secured, remains secured.
Advantages of a Multi-Tenant Database Architecture
Many organizations have started to shift to a multi-tenant database architecture over the standard single-tenant approach. The following are the main benefits that companies can gain when leveraging multi-tenancy today:
Since all users have access to the same services on a single platform, access to updates is more attainable, and performing the upgrades becomes significantly more seamless. This is just one of the many features that people can get from a multi-tenancy approach in terms of its cost-effectiveness.
Businesses who are looking for a solution that provides them with the least financial burden might find what they need from a multi-tenant architecture.
Multi-tenant deployments are easy to scale based on demand. The enhanced scalability means that organizations can add or remove features depending on the need.
Additionally, new users can easily access shared capabilities in a multi-tenant approach. This makes the setup process — as well as onboarding — go much smoother than other methods.
Since all tenants share the same database, any updates that are performed will affect all customers. This means that any system upgrades and maintenance requirements are done simultaneously.
Thanks to this feature, those following a multi-tenancy approach find that their system requires less maintenance.
Improved Productivity for Tenants
Users benefit from improved productivity since they don’t have the added responsibility of maintaining the application in multi-tenant database architecture.
Since there’s no need to manage the software or infrastructure, tenants can work on other crucial tasks.
A multi-tenant database architecture provides companies with a cost-effective approach and is easy to use because you get direct support from the provider. Many organizations today are relying on a multi-tenancy approach because it allows them to make the most of the physical resources they have available.
If you’re one of the many businesses that are leveraging a multi-tenant database architecture, then you want to make sure that everything is working as intended with your platform. This can only be done with the right type of testing and skill from an expert.
At QASource, we ensure that the apps and systems our clients use can accomplish their goals for years to come. Generating bug-free code can be costly, time-consuming, and challenging, which is why you need the help of a specialist to get the job done.
Our 20 years of experience providing quality assurance testing has allowed many companies and organizations to produce high-quality software on time, every time.