I don’t like ambiguity and there was some in yesterday’s post so let’s get to it. Yesterday I wrote:
Microsoft is confidently offering replacement systems that have been the beneficiaries of significant investment over the last several years. These systems also run on cloud infrastructure, though cloud does not necessarily mean multitenant.
Microsoft and others — with the notable exceptions of companies like NetSuite and Salesforce.com — have decided to kick the can down the road with regard to multitenancy. While multitenancy might have advantages, it is not advantageous enough yet to push the issue. As a result, it may have to wait 10 more years — until the next wholesale replacement cycle — until multitenancy becomes more of a standard.
The “can” in this case is a metaphor referring to how vendors address the issue of single tenant vs. multi tenant cloud-based systems, and I thought the second paragraph did an acceptable job of illuminating the metaphor.
Not that long ago cloud and multitenant went together but a revolution in the last couple of years by major software vendors including Oracle, Microsoft and Sage among others, has changed the complexion of the situation. Many vendors have adopted a strategy that leverages a single code base that can be deployed either as single or multitenant. Moreover, the single tenant versions can still be housed in a common, cloud-based datacenter to deliver cloud services that are almost indistinguishable to the user. But no conventional vendors are pushing multitenancy as the wave of the future. They are letting the customer decide.
It’s still true that you need to work with your vendor to establish the right balance of cloud services to go with your cloud infrastructure. For instance, do you want to manage your system from afar or do you want your vendor to provide management services including configuration, backup and upgrades? The choices are numerous. So when I spoke of kicking the can down the road, it was about the choice of deployment—as in letting the customer decide the deployment approach—rather than saying that any vendor did not possess the ability to deploy in multitenant mode.