Kevin Smith, Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Business Unit, of FrontRange, says:

FrontRange and THINKstrategies have teamed up on a survey of 341 IT professionals around the world to determine how cloud computing alternatives are affecting the IT Service Management needs of organizations.

Among the many interesting findings from this survey, one in particular stands out:  nearly half of the survey respondents verify that their currently installed ITSM solutions—that serve as the backbone of IT organizations—are 5+ years old.  As a result, many of these aging systems are being evaluated for major upgrades and/or replacement.

While the vast majority of respondents are deploying on premise ITSM solutions, the tide is shifting to cloud-based implementations.

And this raises big questions about the pros and cons of multi-tenant vs. single tenant cloud architectures being relied upon to deliver ITSM solutions that run everything from help desks and change management requests, to incident response processes and much more.

ITSM vendors relying on single tenant architectures are at a distinct disadvantage for a host of reasons:

1.      They can only scale out new customers in a linear fashion, which means they have to add a dedicated server or virtual machine in third-party data centers for each new client.  This is an expensive business model whose significant overhead gets passed on to customers.
2.      Vendors using single tenant architectures must pay for each customer upgrade—that adds substantial costs.
3.      Customers in a single tenant architecture have their own software code, which makes version control and upgrades a customer support nightmare for vendors.

Multi-tenant architectures, on the other hand, maintain notable advantages that include:

1.      Significant economies of scale since each new customer resides in a common database meaning fewer servers are required to support a bigger customer base.
2.      Software upgrades can be rolled out en masse to ensure each customer is running consistent versions of sofware.
3.      The cost to implement software upgrades is fractional compared to single tenant architectures since it is a uniform, one-time process.
4.      Less expensive customer support personnel can handle these upgrades, which saves vendors costs—and those savings are passed on to customers.

These are just a handful of tradeoffs between these competing cloud architectures.