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Using Microservices to Customize Multi-Tenant SaaS: From Intrusive to Non-Intrusive

Authors Hui Song, Phu H. Nguyen , Franck Chauvel

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Author Details

Hui Song
  • SINTEF, Oslo, Norway
Phu H. Nguyen
  • SINTEF, Oslo, Norway
Franck Chauvel
  • SINTEF, Oslo, Norway


We want to thank our colleagues at Supper Office and Visma for the fruitful collaboration in the Cirrus project.

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Hui Song, Phu H. Nguyen, and Franck Chauvel. Using Microservices to Customize Multi-Tenant SaaS: From Intrusive to Non-Intrusive. In Joint Post-proceedings of the First and Second International Conference on Microservices (Microservices 2017/2019). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 78, pp. 1:1-1:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Customization is a widely adopted practice on enterprise software applications such as Enterprise resource planning (ERP) or Customer relation management (CRM). Software vendors deploy their enterprise software product on the premises of a customer, which is then often customized for different specific needs of the customer. When enterprise applications are moving to the cloud as mutli-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the traditional way of on-premises customization faces new challenges because a customer no longer has an exclusive control to the application. To empower businesses with specific requirements on top of the shared standard SaaS, vendors need a novel approach to support the customization on the multi-tenant SaaS. In this paper, we summarize our two approaches for customizing multi-tenant SaaS using microservices: intrusive and non-intrusive. The paper clarifies the key concepts related to the problem of multi-tenant customization, and describes a design with a reference architecture and high-level principles. We also discuss the key technical challenges and the feasible solutions to implement this architecture. Our microservice-based customization solution is promising to meet the general customization requirements, and achieves a balance between isolation, assimilation and economy of scale.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Software as a service orchestration systems
  • Software and its engineering → Cloud computing
  • Applied computing → Service-oriented architectures
  • Customization
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • Microservices
  • Multi-tenancy
  • Cloud
  • Reference Architecture


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