SaaS architecture design patterns

Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have been around since the late 1990s. However, their popularity is higher than ever, with SaaS solutions rapidly eliminating the use of traditional on-premise applications due to the versatility of their architecture patterns.

SaaS applications are hosted on servers and licensed on a subscription basis, making them more efficient for users and enterprises to deploy and manage. In addition to helping businesses save time, money, and resources when it comes to IT maintenance, SaaS architecture means these solutions offer improved security standards.

What Is SaaS Architecture?

SaaS design architecture describes the pattern of software delivery whereby a vendor hosts an application on a remote server for an organization before delivering the app’s capabilities to that organization’s end users over the internet.

There are two main types of SaaS today:

Vertical SaaS

This type of architecture focuses on industry-centric solutions (e.g., finance, healthcare, retail, etc.). While they are limited to one industry, vertical SaaS offers specialized functionality and services specifically for that industry, making them a great option for organizations in a single market.

Horizontal SaaS

The horizontal architecture focuses more on a software category and functionality rather than an industry. However, because this type of SaaS architecture offers a single functionality or service, enterprises would need to invest in multiple SaaS solutions if they need additional functionality.

Vertical vs Horizontal SaaS
Vertical vs Horizontal SaaS

SaaS Architecture Design Patterns

The architecture design patterns detail how the SaaS services are offered to end users. The four major SaaS architecture design patterns used today are:

Single-Tenant Architecture

As the name implies, this type of SaaS architecture pattern is designed to serve a solitary client who pays for the software service. Customers can not share database resources with others and can customize the software to meet their business requirements. SaaS providers who offer this service allow customers to have a different version of the same solution.

Multi-Tenant Architecture (SOA)

By definition, this architecture serves more than one tenant. Clients share a common database and application information. However, every client's data is secured despite sharing the same database.

There are several types of this architecture design including single multi-tenant database, sharded multi-tenant database, database per tenant, and hybrid sharded multi-tenant database.

Monolithic Architecture

The monolithic architecture is the oldest form of SaaS design where the application programming interfaces (APIs), databases, services, and user interface are baked together into a unified executable process. It is a single indivisible module that cannot be split or segmented.

This architecture design approach allows clients to build, patch, and change layers of their applications without affecting the entire software. Organizations creating a full production environment find the monolithic architecture particularly useful as it is built around the server-side and client-side interface.

Microservices Architecture

This SaaS architecture is run by APIs. The services offered here are broken down into smaller modules and clients can independently choose the number of modules they want to integrate. This approach is particularly suitable for enterprises expecting growth and significant changes; you can find SaaS UX design inspiration online for better results.

The APIs allow the modules to either function independently or communicate with each other for collaborative tasks. Modules can be upgraded, updated, and scaled separately for added flexibility. Customers can choose to activate or disable services at their convenience. This architecture shows that designing enterprise SaaS has come a long way.

Why Choose SaaS Architecture?

SaaS architecture provides a flexible platform for scaling computer resources on demand. It saves enterprises the cost of purchasing new, expensive hardware anytime they want to scale. With SaaS, enterprises can create cost-effective software to scale their businesses with the latest and greatest technology by only upgrading their subscription licenses.

SaaS architectures are not only cost-effective, but they also provide flexibility for customization and maintenance that benefit businesses. The popularity and benefits offered by SaaS architecture are supported by a 2022 report that showed that SaaS applications made up 70% of most companies’ total software usage.

Serhii Hyliuk

Head of Growth

Head of Growth and Customer Success. I'm interested in design, new tech, fashion, exploring new places and languages. My mission is to make our clients happy.

Head of Growth and Customer Success. I'm interested in design, new tech, fashion, exploring new places and languages. My mission is to make our clients happy.


Continue reading