Following a session I delivered at SharePoint Conference 2011 in October, as well as few emails received recently, and following the very strong momentum Microsoft Project Server 2010 has, a common topic “du jour” customers are asking: does Project Server 2010 supports multi-tenancy? Hence, the goal of this post is to answer this question.
What is multi-tenancy?
First before I go any further I think it’s important to define multi tenancy since people have different expectations to its meaning and implications. Wikipedia’s definition of Multitenancy is:
Multitenancy refers to a principle in software architecture where a single instance of the software runs on a server, serving multiple client organizations (tenants).
In this SharePoint 2010 document on TechNet: Model: Hosting architectures for SharePoint Server 2010 it says:
Multitenancy refers to the ability to partition data of otherwise shared services or software in order to accommodate multiple tenants. This is in contrast to setting up separate hardware or even running multiple instances of a service.
Spencer Harbar in this post Rational Guide to Multi Tenancy with SharePoint 2010 does a great job defining multi-tenancy in the SharePoint 2010 world, and in particular mentions: “Multi-Tenancy in SharePoint 2010 isn’t a “feature” that lights up. It’s a combination of many things which all together enable the scenario we are interested in.”
Project Server 2010 and multi-tenancy
Can you have multiple customers/business units/departments on the same SharePoint and Project Server farm and infrastructure? YES you can! But please remember these Project Server considerations for multi-tenancy:
- Project Server 2010 does not support multi-tenant environments (like SharePoint 2010 does)
- Requires SQL Server Analysis Services for reporting (OLAP cubes)
- Queue Services: introduced in Project Server 2007 to handle spikes in transactions like users submitting their timesheets on Friday for instance
- Resource Pool a key capability of PS which enables to model your capacity and demand and hence figure out shortages or surplus
- Authorization/Permission Model: while authentication is handled by SharePoint, authorization is specific to Project Server and has a lot more granularity that the out of the box SharePoint’s
- Cross-farm services not supported
- Must be installed on each application server and front-end Web in the farm
- On-Demand Hosting Services for Project Server 2010
With the above factors in mind, yes again you can have multiples customers and instances on the same infrastructure and farm, and just because we do not support multi-tenant like SharePoint does in 2010, it does not mean you need multiple farms to serve your customers. Clear examples of multi-tenancy today are on-demand hosting companies like Project Hosts and BeMo (more listed here) that offers shared online environment for their customers. We also have customers that have been providing Project Server to internal business unit since the 2007 version (internal multi-tenancy). Please note that I wrote this post last year on the topic of should you have a dedicated farm for Project Server or leverage a central SharePoint farm and infrastructure: Project Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010: one farm or multiple?
Please find below an example of multi-tenancy following feedback from the hosting companies mentioned above:
In summary yes you can have multiple tenant on the same Project Server 2010 farm and infrastructure but it cannot be achieved using the SharePoint 2010 multi-tenancy features. For any additional questions/feedback about this topic feel free to contact me via this blog.