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Technology Reviews: Multitenancy

In 2003, before the term “multitenancy” was widely used in the industry, QAD implemented the QAD Supplier Portal as a web application that fits the definition of a SaaS multitenant application. Our subsequent experience taught us that multitenancy is not always the best option for certain types of businesses, despite it being convenient for the SaaS vendor who enjoys reduced deployment complexity.

Running a full-featured global manufacturing ERP operation is highly complex. Providing a system that includes customer version independence, security isolation and even FDA qualification cannot be serviced effectively in a multitenant environment.

Multitenancy and Cloud ERP

Based on our experience, with QAD Cloud ERP, first deployed in 2007, we addressed the challenge – how to provide a single instance system without sacrificing the cost saving associated with multitenancy. QAD achieved this through an extensive set of DevOps best practices, automation and comprehensive monitoring. This differentiating approach and innovation has resulted in QAD winning a number of awards in the areas of security and cloud, most recently winning the Stratus Award for 2016 Cloud Company of the Year.

Although QAD does not consolidate customers on a single instance, the QAD approach is designed to consolidate multiple instances of a single global customer system on a single instance. Leveraging our domain technology, introduced in the early 2000s, and our ability to define the scope of shared data across those domain instances, we are able to give our global customers the ability to model their business in an extremely flexible manner. It also gave customers the ability to deploy using what QAD refers to as a “blended” approach where customers may run some sites on premise and some in the cloud without sacrificing data consistency.

QAD has invested so much in automation to effectively manage thousands of customer instances from a single pane of glass that the QAD Cloud solution is now technically agnostic to Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) that typically provide data center services. This gives QAD the agility to rapidly add new CSPs and adopt technology improvements as the cloud space evolves.

QAD was a very early implementer of virtualization for its cloud-based solutions and internally for development, demo, training and support systems. We fully automate our lifecycle leveraging virtualization and have increased our use of technologies like OpenStack and Docker.

Do you find yourself wading through the seemingly endless new technology? How do you determine the fads from the useful trends? Learn more in my recent white paper, Looking Before Leaping onto Technology Bandwagons.

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More Stories By Tony Winter

With over 20 years in the ERP industry, Tony Winter is responsible for driving QAD’s long-term technology, architecture and product release strategies. He oversees a global research and development team, manages all technical relationships with QAD global partners, and innovates on QAD’s key technology initiatives, including its user interfaces, foundation services, application lifecycle management, analytics, integration and quality.

Tony loves to spend time with his wife and four children, learning new things together through homeschooling, like trying to play instruments and traveling to experience different cultures and cuisines firsthand. He had a unique education in his home country of Wales with the first 18 years of his life being taught entirely in Welsh. He also builds software-controlled devices and has a large collection of metal cast puzzles.