Thanks John. I had not even considered the useful part of cloning VM images, but that may be just the ticket for setting up multiple instances of the system to support low data volume businesses like a family owned pet shop, and such. Where a company like Apple computers may need several dedicated cloud servers to support their data needs, a small family business can get by with a lower resource implementation and would still benefit from the full feature set that can be had from a VM instance.
Not to sure I can get away from the full OS system for my current project simply because the system resources will be taxed by the load the client will put on the system. The VM test case moved very slow when attempting to process their simulated transactions. The full OS version had no lag time.
I am still glad you gave me your thoughts, because it gives me another path to help the smaller businesses that otherwise could not afford the man-hours required to setup and configure.
Wouldn’t a Multi Tenant option provide a much more manageable option rather than multi VMs. when you consider that if you took the VM option you would:
do multiple installs/instances,
do multiple updates on numerous VMs,
do multiple backups
have VMs running on less than optimal hosts
manage so many different installations.
Multi Tenant installation enables you to have one setup on one or more cloud servers depending on how many customers you wish to serve. You can basically, create an optimised setup that would deliver simplicity to you customers without the need for them to do any setup and configurations.
I could probably figure out how to handle “almost” everything in a multi tenant installation. The two Items I had the most trouble with were very important to my customers.
In my test of multi tenant, I could not have the same user id (email address) in two different tenants. This would cause a real problem for the tenant businesses. In one case, multiple clients (3 of them) own commercial kitchens and lease kitchen time to their users. Their users are aspiring chefs trying to make their name in the local foodie culture. These young chefs are independents and keep only one private email address as their identity, but they are users in multiple local kitchens. When I tested this, I could not figure out how to get ERPNext to allow the same email address to be a user in two different tenant businesses.
In my business I have always delivered a daily backup file to each business for them to keep on their local PC. This is because some businesses are seasonal. They want to keep their backup data local so if they need to shut down for an extended period of time and return next year, they can supply their old backup, pay a fee to have it restored and updated, and be back in business again. The problem I ran into with ERPNext multi tenant was that all tenants were bundled into a single backup. I could not figure out how to separate out each business. The contract we use to sign up businesses states that if they shut down for a period of more than 30 days, we delete all data on our servers and they have to maintain their own backup data.
There were several other issues I ran into with multi tenant related to product codes across different businesses, purchase order number schemes, and the maintenance module. I just didn’t have the time or information required to sort them out. Since the documentation for ERPNext is so sparse, most of my time is dedicated to figuring out how to get everything working clean in single server installations. That task is hard enough with constant testing different paths through the system when my clients report trouble.
So, if I had to try to support very small businesses (like the commercial kitchens), I have been keeping them as separate installs. I know that is not optimal, but at least it minimizes my troubleshooting time.
You are right, I read multi tenant and multi company and thought they were the same thing. I set up multi company as my test bed. The one thing I thought I learned early in my ERPNext experience was that different words cannot be considered the same in the this system and I clearly missed that point on my early testing.
Having worked with several different ERP systems in the past, nomenclature gets cross wired in my head sometimes. Whether I am working on SAP, InFlow, ERPNext, or some other system they all use different process names for the same functions. A quick read of the two terms just made me laugh at myself. So I think what they mean now is as follows:
Multi Company is when a single entity runs several companies from the same ERP system. Like a family owing a tailor shop, a dry cleaner service, and a laundromat but keeping the data together in one system.
Multi Tenant (the service I actually wanted) is using a single ERPNext installation and allowing multiple different businesses to use the same resources while keeping their data and business functions isolated from each other. Each “tenant” then only sees their work and do not know they are sharing a server with other low volume tenants.
Is that correct? If so, then I really confused myself at the beginning when I started testing.