Moving to the Cloud: Choosing a Multi-tenant or Dedicated Environment for Your Business

Does Your Business Need a Shared or Private Cloud?

The IT department has become a key differentiator in businesses across all industries. Everyone is confronting similar decisions on how to manage their technology infrastructure.

Until recently the answer was easy, keep everything in-house and manage your own environment.

Much has changed, however, in recent years.  If you read my last blog, you know that 70% of IT Will Outsource to the Cloud over the next five years.  Cloud services have grown in recent years because they eliminate major administration headaches for the IT staff and provide access to applications from any browser-enabled device.

Moving to the cloud or not isn’t the only important decision here. You must also consider that what type of architecture you choose could have a big impact on your business.

Multi-tenant vs. Dedicated: Which to choose?

Before getting into the pros and cons, let’s understand each of these types of clouds.  Multi-tenant solutions are like apartments, one big building is separated into small pieces and rented out.  While dedicated solutions are more like owning a home.  Neither of these architectures are inherently better, the key is to figure out what fits your specific needs.

Multi-tenant Solutions

The largest advantage here is price, and because of that, these solutions are very popular with smaller businesses.

Many clients are sharing the same infrastructure both from a price and technology perspective, allowing for maximum efficiency of computing resources. In addition to cost, multi-tenant solutions (also known as the public cloud) also offer the ability for the vendor (think Gmail) to make overnight improvements, like adding features. This is a huge advantage over dedicated solutions, where enhancements tend to take much longer to reach end users.

There are a few drawbacks to sharing resources. For the most part, multi-tenant solutions are intended for those who are not bound by compliance standards and less concerned about security. Security is a big one. Because so many clients are in the same place, there’s a risk of another business accidentally or intentionally snooping on data that is not their own. Often this security risk is what keeps people away from the cloud altogether, but there is a way around it…

Dedicated Solutions

If security is a concern in your organization, or if you have to meet compliance standards, then a dedicated solution (also known as the private cloud) is the way to go.  In dedicated environments, the hardware, data storage, and network is designed to provide high levels of security that cannot be accessed by other clients in the same data-center. Multi-tenant solutions simply cannot provide this protection.

Customization is another benefit for a dedicated framework. In a multi-tenant solution, you have almost no ability to tailor the solution to your business needs. This is because any custom code can impact other clients. The ability to customize is important to many companies, but only you know if you need it. One size does not fit all… and odds are multi-tenant providers have not tailored their offering to your specific niche.

Yes, the price tag is larger. But for good reason. In fact, this is the biggest complaint I hear with a dedicated architecture, which is fine because, just like anything else, you get what you pay for.

Reviewing the Tradeoffs:

So clearly there are tradeoffs between each type of cloud. Pick the one that fits your needs. If you are a small business needing a cheaper, preconfigured solution that is somewhat secure, then multi-tenant is a great option for you. It will lower your IT costs and should provide a scalable solution that can grow with you over time.

However, if you are a mid-sized or large enterprise that can’t afford to skimp on security and compliance, then look to a dedicated solution. You get all of the benefits of multi-tenancy plus a higher level of cloud security, performance (you are the only one soaking up resources), and customization.

Both of these architectures provide huge benefits to the businesses who use them. If you need help understanding what you need, reach out to, we’ll find a solution that best fits your business.

Learn more about The Public versus Private Cloud.

2014-01-13T09:00:46+00:00 January 13th, 2014|


  1. Laurent Destailleur January 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Technical hosting architecture is not the only important thing to consider. For example there is few Cloud hosting solutions like DoliCloud that provides, to their customers, all tools and support required to leave the service. Being able to leave the Cloud to go back onto its own architecture (out of the Cloud) may also be an important security parameter to consider.

  2. Andy Milsark January 15, 2014 at 9:52 am - Reply

    @Laurent – I agree. This topic was a focus of ours last year to make this process as easy as possible for our customers. At we do not hold your data hostage and provide extensive services for both on-boarding and off-boarding your data to and from our environments.

  3. […] You’ll also know if the private cloud is right for your business. […]

  4. […] provider, companies need to carefully evaluate the security for all aspects and understand how the different cloud types can affect your […]

  5. praveenkumar December 2, 2016 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Nice explanation…it is very useful for o 365 beginners.

Leave A Comment