As a database landlord, we think every customer deserves their own home.
Each time we release a new update to the UtilityClick platform, we do so with the intention of enhancing functionality and improving the experience for our customers. Launching a new feature which adds universal value is extremely rewarding; especially considering that almost every addition has been sourced directly from the brokers, consultants and managers using the system.
But in the world of cloud computing, not all improvements can be seen with the naked eye. Behind the scenes, the system architecture which drives and this functionality can be complex, and with an increasing number of users this needs to be maintained and upgraded in a scalable way.
Many online software systems use multi-tenant databases. In other words, your data sits alongside the data other users in the same set of tables in a rapidly growing repository. The energy industry is all about data; so these multi-tenant solutions can become crowded quite quickly. Before you know it, the software is feeling the strain, and you’re receiving a slower user experience as a result. Ever wished your CRM system was quicker?
In the cloud, single-tenant databases are king. Instead of sharing your living space with your competitors, your data is stored on its own database. A set of tables and procedures which are specific to you, and shared by nobody else. Processing power is allocated to each database when it’s needed. This is more costly for the hosting provider, but has a distinct set of advantages:
- Enhanced security – there’s little chance of another subscriber accessing your data. Separating databases builds walls which are much harder to climb.
- Increased reliability – separate databases means one subscriber’s actions don’t affect another. Data corruption in one system has no impact on another; meaning uptime is almost always improved.
- Better backup & restore – in a single-tenant system, a database can be restored to any point in time without impacting other subscribers.
- Fully scalable – when supported by the right hosting provider, processing power shared amongst the databases can be increased at the click of a button; and databases can be added with ease.
- Faster – more processing power and better use of this available power means speed improvements for all subscribers.
It’s natural for a startup business to begin with a multi-tenant, shared database structure. But in my view, any ambitious and customer-focussed cloud software provider worth their salt will invest time and money in single-tenant systems.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done.After just a year, we’re ready to launch our single-tenant system. In the next few days, every UtilityClick customer will migrate to their own database, and we’re more than doubling the processing power available to our subscribers.