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Why is Multi-tenant Analytics Hard to Build and Maintainby@goqrvey
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5,119 reads

Why is Multi-tenant Analytics Hard to Build and Maintain

by QrveyMarch 6th, 2024
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Qrvey's turnkey solution to multi-tenant analytics takes the stress out of building and delivering embedded analytics for SaaS applications.
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What is Multi-Tenant Analytics?

Multi-Tenant Analytics refers to a scenario where multiple users or groups of users, also known as “tenants”, can securely access and analyze their own data within a shared analytics system, or a SaaS platform. The system is designed to ensure each tenant’s data remains private and separate from others.

Why is Multi-Tenant Analytics Important to the Success of SaaS Companies?

Multi-tenant analytics is a powerful tool that is becoming increasingly important to SaaS companies. This technology allows these companies to embed analytical capabilities directly within their applications, creating a seamless user experience for their customers.


But why is this so important? The answer lies in the nature of SaaS businesses. These companies often serve numerous clients, each with its own unique set of data.


With multi-tenant analytics, each customer – or tenant – can analyze and extract valuable insights from their own data. This helps them make informed decisions, optimize their operations, and ultimately, get more value from the SaaS product.


Moreover, multi-tenant analytics also ensures the privacy and security of each customer’s data. Despite all customers using the same application, their data remains isolated and secure from other tenants. This is crucial in a time when data breaches and privacy concerns are top of mind for many businesses.


In essence, multi-tenant analytics empowers SaaS companies to provide more value to their customers while also ensuring the privacy and security of their data. It’s a win-win situation that is driving the success of many SaaS businesses in today’s digital landscape.

What are the Benefits of Multi-Tenant Analytics to Users of SaaS Platforms?

Multi-tenant analytics, as a particular use case of embedded analytics, provides an extensive range of benefits to users of SaaS platforms.

Self-Service Report Creation

The key advantage is that it enables self-service reporting. This means that users can generate their own reports, customize their data, and create visuals without needing to rely on the IT department or data scientists. It empowers users to access and interpret their data in ways that best suit their specific needs and preferences.

Custom Dataset Creation

Additionally, multi-tenant analytics also facilitates the creation of custom datasets. Users can draw from a wide variety of data sources, consolidate this data into a single dataset, and then analyze it to derive meaningful insights. This ability to tailor datasets and carry out complex analyses significantly enhances the value that users can derive from their SaaS platforms.


Flexibility and scalability of analytics functions provides users with the tools they need to adapt to changing business environments and challenges.

What are the Advantages of Multi-Tenant Analytics for Product and Engineering Teams?

Multi-tenant analytics is particularly beneficial to teams that build and maintain SaaS platforms.


Here’s why:


  1. Cost Efficiency: Since all tenants are utilizing the same resources, the costs associated with maintaining and upgrading the system are shared, leading to significant savings.


  2. Scalability: Multi-tenant architecture allows for easy scaling. As new tenants are added, they can be accommodated within the existing system without the need for additional resources or infrastructure.


  3. Improved Data Analysis and Insights: With each tenant having access to their own data, they can conduct in-depth analysis and gain valuable insights. This information can help them make informed decisions and optimize their operations.


  4. Greater Customization: Multi-Tenant Analytics allows for higher levels of customization. Each tenant can tailor the system to suit their specific needs without affecting the user experience of others.


  5. Enhanced Data Security: Despite the shared nature of the system, each tenant’s data remains secure and isolated from others. This is crucial in the modern business world, where data breaches and privacy concerns are a top priority.


For the Product and Engineering teams, multi-tenant analytics provides the opportunity to innovate and enhance their offerings. They can use the insights gained from the system to improve their product, meet their clients’ needs more effectively, and stay competitive in the market.


Integrating a turnkey solution like Qrvey allows these teams to allocate their resources more effectively, focusing on areas that add the most value to their product.

Why Building Multi-Tenant Analytics is Incredibly Hard

We see companies struggle with this repeatedly. Creating performant, secure, and scalable multi-tenant analytics requires overcoming steep data engineering and infrastructure challenges that stretch the limits of most software teams. Simply put, this is one area that most engineering teams are trained to build.


ANALYTICS WITHOUT QRVEY (scroll down for WITH QRVEY)

multi-tenant analytics without qrvey

Ensuring Tenant Data Security

Multi-tenant analytics platforms must isolate data between different customer tenants. This involves tackling permissions, access controls, and strict separation mechanisms to prevent exposure beyond authorized users, especially as data volumes, queries, and user concurrency expand over time.


Compliance regulations like GDPR and HIPAA further complicate data management because of auditing requirements and data sovereignty considerations.


This is one reason many healthcare SaaS companies struggle to implement healthcare analytics within their application and one of the most important reasons we only support deployed, cloud-native software here at Qrvey.


Managing Performance and Scalability

In contrast to single-tenant applications, the world of multi-tenant analytics is characterized by unpredictable and spiky traffic patterns. This happens because customers can access reports and dashboards on their own, each with their own usage patterns and needs.


The critical challenge here lies in ensuring that the underlying data infrastructure can effectively stretch to accommodate these diverse tenant needs and data volumes. To achieve this, various advanced techniques are employed, such as the implementation of microservices, the orchestration of containers, and the deployment of auto-scaling mechanisms.


However, one of the most significant developments in this area is serverless technology. This presents a relatively new and innovative pathway to scaling processes and systems. This is a notable advancement, considering that legacy analytics software typically ran on expensive servers, which often posed limitations in terms of scalability.


Qrvey helps solve this challenge by developing on serverless technology from the beginning. Qrvey’s solution has never involved server purchases or rentals which lead to expensive compute clusters that sit idle most of the day.


Integrating Disparate Data Sources

In the complex world of data analytics, companies often encounter the challenge of integrating various and often disconnected data sources. While connecting to a single database or warehouse may be sufficient for some applications, the reality is that many more complex, multi-tenant analytics use cases rely on the aggregation of different data sources.


These data sources can be as diverse as online databases, cloud storage solutions, log files, or even streams of data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Companies will typically be forced to build separate pipelines with dedicated ETL for every data source.


Given the vast variety of these sources, the task of data integration can become quite daunting. However, the need for comprehensive insights and analytics makes this integration essential. The platforms that manage these multi-tenant analytics need to be equipped with flexible and repeatable pipelines.


Qrvey solves this challenge by offering a unified data pipeline that works with any data type. This simplicity and consolidation of development efforts leads to much greater efficiency on the engineering side, but end users ultimately benefit as you can offer them a wider variety of data for analysis.


Mapping User Roles to Data Access in Multi-Tenant Environments

In environments where multiple customer tenants are accessing a shared analytics application, the task of linking user roles and permissions from the primary SaaS app to row and column-level data restrictions becomes a complex undertaking. This complexity is because of the increased overhead compared to standalone analytics tools.


The use of semantic layers, which are a crucial component in multi-tenant analytics, further adds to this complexity. These layers allow for the implementation of detailed data access controls, but they can become quite intricate, especially considering the highly dynamic security needs often present in these environments.


These security needs may vary greatly between different tenants and can change rapidly over time, making it a challenge to maintain an accurate and effective mapping of user roles to data access. Despite these challenges, it is a critical task to ensure that each user can access the data they need while preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data.


Qrvey includes a native semantic layer. We know you can’t be successful without this component and it’s always a task for development teams to build and maintain. With Qrvey, it’s included.


Enabling Tenant-Specific Customization in Multi-Tenant Analytics

In the world of multi-tenant analytics, there are certain elements such as the core dashboards or reports that may be standardized across all tenants. This standardization is vital for maintaining consistency in the process of analyzing data. However, it is equally important to allow for tenant-specific customization.


Tenant-specific customization could include elements like unique datasets, visualizations, and metrics that cater to the particular needs of each tenant. This approach prevents the creation of a rigid “one-size-fits-all” interface, which may not fully address the unique requirements of each tenant.


Therefore, striking a balance between these two competing needs – standardization of certain elements and customization of others – is a complex task, but with Qrvey, it’s not only possible, but it’s also perhaps the biggest advantage of including a data management layer that powers custom data models down to the user level. Game changer.


Software Engineers are Not Data Engineers

While software engineering teams are experts in their field, they often find themselves lacking the specialized skills necessary for managing multi-tenant analytics and large data volume queries. These skills include, but are not limited to,


  • managing concurrent analytical workloads

  • implementing sophisticated security models

  • designing high-performing query engines


This lack of domain expertise exacerbates the variety of other technical challenges that these teams may encounter, creating a significant gap.

Development Tasks Become Increasingly Demanding


  • Data Migration and Onboarding: As the scale of operations increases, the task of seamlessly migrating tenant data and ensuring smooth onboarding flows becomes progressively more challenging. It requires careful planning and execution to handle the data volume and complexity while minimizing disruption to the end users.


  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Keeping track of tenant analytic activity is a demanding task. Identifying and resolving issues in various tenants requires a strong understanding of data analytics. This process also involves a significant amount of operational tasks. This necessitates a robust system for monitoring and troubleshooting.


  • Testing and Quality Assurance: Ensuring the integrity and functionality of features across various tenant data permutations is another essential yet demanding task. It requires the implementation of rigorous, automated testing programs to prevent potential issues such as data leakage or access control problems. This level of quality assurance is critical in maintaining trust and reliability with end users.

Qrvey: A Purpose-Built Multi-Tenant Analytics Solution

ANALYTICS WITH QRVEY

multi-tenant analytics with qrvey


Qrvey is a turnkey solution that empowers development teams to build and deliver embedded analytics for SaaS applications, regardless of data source, data type, or front-end framework.


Qrvey is a fully deployed solution that uses a single data pipeline to ingest, integrate, and analyze data from various sources. Qrvey offers a suite of APIs and visualization widgets to create customizable analytics experiences for users.


Qrvey can handle various challenges and scenarios for multi-tenant analytics, such as custom data models, personalized data visualizations, multiple data sources, and content deployment. Qrvey can also improve SaaS product metrics and reduce costs.


At the end of the day, we’re here to make the process of offering better analytics and reporting easier to engineering teams. Let us show you how.


Also published here.