Locus Platform is the preeminent on-demand application development platform for EHS, ESG, and beyond, supporting many organizations and government institutions. Individual enterprises and governmental organizations trust Locus’s SaaS Platform to deliver robust, reliable, Internet-scale applications. The foundation of Locus Platform (LP) is a metadata-driven software architecture that enables multitenant applications. This unique technology, a significant differentiator between Locus and its competitors, makes the Locus Platform fast, scalable, and secure for any application. What do we mean by metadata-driven? If you look up metadata-driven development on the web, you find the following:
“The metadata-driven model for building applications allows an Enterprise to deploy multiple applications on the same hosting infrastructure easily. Since multiple applications share the same Designer and Rendering Engine, the only difference is the metadata created uniquely for each application.”
In the case of LP, it is the Designer and Rendering Engine cited in this definition. All LP customers share this engine and use it to create their custom applications. These applications may consist of dashboards, forms to enter data, plots, reports, and so forth, all designed to meet a set of requirements. Instructions (metadata) stored in a database tell the engine how to build these entities, the total of which form a client-designed application.
History has shown that every so often, incremental advances in technology and changes in business models create significant paradigm shifts in the way software applications are designed, built, and delivered to end-users. The invention of personal computers (PCs), computer networking, and graphical user interfaces (UIs) gave rise to the adoption of client/server applications over expensive, inflexible, character-mode mainframe applications. And today, reliable broadband Internet access, service-oriented architectures (SOAs), and the cost inefficiencies of managing dedicated on-premises applications are driving a transition toward the delivery of decomposable, collected, shared, Web-based services called software as a service (SaaS).
With every paradigm shift comes a new set of technical challenges, and SaaS is no different. Existing application frameworks are not designed to address the unique needs of SaaS. This void has given rise to another new paradigm shift, namely platform as a service (PaaS). Hosted application platforms are managed environments specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of building SaaS applications and deliver them more cost-efficiently.
The focus of Locus Platform is multitenancy, a fundamental design approach that dramatically improves the manageability of EHS and ESG SaaS applications. Locus Platform is the world’s first PaaS built from scratch to take advantage of the latest software developments for building EHS, ESG, sustainability, and other applications. Locus Platform delivers turnkey multitenancy for Internet-scale applications.
The same applies to many different sets of users; all Locus’ LP applications are multitenant rather than single-tenant. Whereas a traditional single-tenant application requires a dedicated group of resources to fulfill the needs of just one organization, a multitenant application can satisfy the needs of multiple tenants (companies or departments within a company, etc.) using the hardware resources and staff needed to manage just a single software instance. A multitenant application cost-efficiently shares a single stack of resources to satisfy the needs of multiple organizations.
Tenants using a multitenant service operate in virtual isolation: Organizations can use and customize an application as though they each have a separate instance. Yet, their data and customizations remain secure and insulated from the activity of all other tenants. The single application instance effectively morphs at runtime for any particular tenant at any given time.
Multitenancy is an architectural approach that pays dividends to application providers (Locus) and users (Locus customers). Operating just one application instance for multiple organizations yields tremendous economy of scale for the provider. Only one set of hardware resources is necessary to meet the needs of all users, a relatively small, experienced administrative staff can efficiently manage only one stack of software and hardware, and developers can build and support a single code base on just one platform (operating system, database, etc.) rather than many. The economics afforded by multitenancy allows the application provider to, in turn, offer the service at a lower cost to customers—everyone involved wins.
Some attractive side benefits of multitenancy are improved quality, user satisfaction, and customer retention. Unlike single-tenant applications, which are isolated silos deployed outside the reach of the application provider, a multitenant application is one large community that the provider itself hosts. This design shift lets the provider gather operational information from the collective user population (which queries respond slowly, what errors happen, etc.) and make frequent, incremental improvements to the service that benefits the entire user community at once.
Two additional benefits of a multitenant platform-based approach are collaboration and integration. Because all users run all applications in one space, it is easy to allow any user of any application varied access to specific data sets. This capability simplifies the effort necessary to integrate related applications and the data they manage.
This is the third post highlighting the evolution of Locus Technologies over the past 25 years. The first two can be found here and here. This series continues with Locus at 25 Years: How did we fund Locus?