If you haven’t read our blog yet on the Next Generation Services Platform, go check it out. John’s and Eric’s writing lays the groundwork for a deeper discussion on multi-tenancy in Industry 4.0. Multi-tenant architecture within the NGSP is the digital strategy that allows systems integrators to reduce overhead in bringing the value of broadly contextualized data back to their customers. If you thought that sentence was hard to read, know that it was equally hard to write. Shame on me for leaving it in.

Let’s start with the basics: what is multi-tenant architecture, and what are the benefits?

Simply put, multi-tenant architecture is a strategy of using a single compute environment for applications servicing multiple customers. Those applications share the resource pool of their central compute space, but each tenant (customer) has access only to their data. Meanwhile, the multi-tenant provider (a systems integrator in this case) has access to the entire data lake created by each tenant’s data stream. 

Imagine an apartment building. Each tenant has their own rented space, carefully curated and tastefully appointed. Their key only opens the door to their apartment. This is their area, but they share common spaces, mechanical/electrical systems, the building edifice, and maybe even laundry. Sharing these resources allows the tenants a lower cost of living, and since the building owner takes care of maintenance, the tenant has free time to focus on things they care about. Meanwhile, the building owner has a single point for most maintenance, and they’ve segmented a significant capital asset into consumable chunks that aggregate into a nice stream of recurring revenue. 

Now apply that same philosophy to SCADA or MES. For most companies, the largest barrier to Digital Transformation behind legacy business models is perceived cost. The multi-tenant architecture allows capable Ignition integrators to split costs into consumable chunks and generate a nice stream of recurring revenue. Meanwhile, the end-user reaping the benefits of their savvy integrator’s data contextualization pays a lower price, and since the SI takes care of maintenance, they have free time to focus on other initiatives.

The Next Gen Services platform for integrators is inherently dispersed.

Multiple customers with multiple connected assets continuously stream data to the integrator’s central ecosystem. That integrator contextualizes the data and provides actionable insights back down to the edge. They use Ignition to segment each customer’s silo of data, and they use Tosibox technology to connect the data-generating devices and to provide secure access control to their customers' operators, technicians, and engineers. They have a single environment to manage all their data and connected devices.

By relying on Tosibox’s automated networking and cybersecurity to eliminate the cost, complexity, and cybersecurity risk of connecting multiple dispersed assets to a central ecosystem, forward-thinking integrators have free time to focus on revenue-generating applications, not the networks that enable them. 

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Blog post is written by Skylar Dhaese - OT Network engineer helping integrators and manufacturers monetize their digital transformation.