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In previous versions of Totara it was possible to support multitenancy using a combination of organisational hierarchies, audiences, dashboards and custom menus to deliver learning and different user experiences to different tenants. While it was possible to organise users into distinct groups, Totara 13 offers more robust and flexible multitenancy functionality.

Segmenting your site into tenants offers a number of benefits and means that different use cases are now possible. For extended enterprise sites you can use tenants to deliver learning to users outside of your core organisation. For example, you could create a tenant for users in a partner organisation, allowing them to access learning in a separate environment with dedicated administrators.

Another key benefit of separating your site into multiple tenants is that you can clearly separate and delegate responsibilities in terms of user and course administration. This means that tenant administrators are only responsible for administration in their tenant, and don't need to worry about users, courses and other content in other tenants.

Getting started

To get started with multitenancy you can follow these steps and refer to the respective sections of this page:

  1. If it isn't already enabled then you first need to enable multitenancy on your site.
  2. Next create one or more tenants and configure the tenant settings.
  3. Customise your tenant themes.
  4. Add existing users or create new users for each tenant.
  5. Create a system-level audience of tenant members and participants if required.

Enabling multitenancy

If you want to create multiple tenants on your Totara site you first need to enable multitenancy by following these steps:

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Configure features
  2. Scroll down the page and tick the box alongside Enable multitenancy support
  3. Select Save changes

Enabling multitenancy in Advanced features.

Setting up tenants

Once you have enabled multitenancy you can then start to use it by going to Quick-access menu > Tenants

If no tenants have been previously created then the tenants pages will be empty, except for the Add tenant button, which you can use to add your first tenant. Once you have at least one tenant you can start using the embedded report on the manage tenants page, which can be customised using the report builder tool by clicking Edit this report. You can customise the report to suit your exact needs by adding useful columns, such as the number of tenant members or tenant participants.

An empty Manage tenants page.

Adding a tenant

To add tenants to your site follow these steps:

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Tenants
  2. Select on the Add tenant button. 
  3. Complete the settings
  4. Select the Add tenant button. 

Adding a tenant.

Editing a tenant

After you have created a tenant you may wish to amend some of the details. This can be done by editing the tenant. 

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Tenants
  2. Alongside the tenant you wish to edit select the edit icon (Cog icon used to edit. ).
  3. Complete the settings
  4. Select the Update tenant button. 

You can also delete the tenant by selecting the deletion icon (Cross icon to delete.) alongside the tenant in the table. 

When deleting a tenant you will be able to choose between suspending, deleting or keeping tenant members' user accounts which no longer have a tenant. The latter option should be used with caution, as users who are not members of a tenant are classed as system users, meaning they are not restricted to tenant boundaries. Tenant participant accounts will not be affected when a tenant is deleted. The tenant content will be hidden from users, but will still be visible for Site Administrators.


Editing tenant details.

Tenant settings 

SettingDescriptionNotes

Name

The name of the tenant.Required field. 
Tenant identifierTenant identifier must be unique, and include lower case letters (a-z) and numbers (0-9). No capital letters, spaces or special characters. The tenant identifier must start in a letter, e.g. t001.

Required field.

The Tenant identifier will be used as part of the URL for tenant login pages if the Enable pre-login tenant themes setting is enabled. 

DescriptionYou can optionally add a description of the tenant, this may guide others in how to use the tenant. -
SuspendedTick to suspend the tenant.

When a tenant is suspended the user status for all Tenant members will be changed to Tenant Suspended. Tenant members will not be able to log in to the site while their tenant is suspended.

Tenant category nameIf you are using Totara Learn then a new course category will be created to contain all of the courses for your tenant. This field allows you to enter a name for the course category created for the tenant. If left blank then the tenant name will be used. 

This only applies when using Totara Learn. 

As with other course categories in Totara Learn, you can create sub-categories to the tenant course category.

Tenant participants audience nameWhen creating a new tenant an audience will also be created containing all of the tenant users. This field allows you to choose a custom name for the tenant audience. If left blank then the tenant name will be used. 

These audiences are created at the category level, not the system level, and therefore have limited actions available for them. You can find out more in the Tenant audiences section.

Tenant dashboard nameGive a name to the dashboard assigned to this tenant. If left blank then the tenant name will be used. The dashboard name is visible to Tenant members. Global Site Administrators can change the tenant dashboard name at any point.
Clone dashboardYou can choose to clone any existing dashboard for use as the tenant dashboard. 

Cannot be edited after creation. 

If you wish to create a new dashboard for the tenant then you will need to create a dashboard as usual and then choose that one to be cloned when creating your tenant. 

Tenant themes

You can give each tenant a distinct look and feel using Ventura tenant themes. This allows you to brand your tenants based on sub-organisations, teams, or whichever categories you use.

You can also give each tenant its own unique login page by navigating to Quick-access menu > Tenants > Settings, and turning on the Enable pre-login tenant themes setting.

Adding users

After creating your new tenant you can either associate existing users with the tenant, or create new users specifically for the tenant. Below we will look at how to do both of these. 

You can find more about Tenant Domain Managers and Tenant User Managers on the Multitenancy tenant roles page.

Individual users can be Tenant Members or Tenant Participants. Before adding users it is important to understand the difference between these roles:

  • Tenant Members: Users can only be a member of one tenant at a time, and their account is managed by the tenant's Tenant User Managers. If isolation mode is turned off then members will be able to see shared spaces in addition to any tenant content, but if isolation mode is enabled then members will not be able to see any parts of the site outside of their tenant. Their access to the site will be suspended if the tenant is suspended.
  • Tenant Participants: Non-members (i.e. system-level users) can be assigned as participants of a tenant. These users are not exclusively associated with a specific tenant, but they require access to the tenant. For example, Trainers or external consultants might participate in a specific tenant's courses, meaning they need to be enrolled on relevant courses, programs and certifications, or added to seminar events.

Assigning tenant roles to a trainer.

Creating new users

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Tenants and select the tenant you wish to add the user to.
  2. From the Administration block go to Tenant participants.
  3. Select the Create user button. 
  4. Complete the new user details. 
  5. Scroll down and select the Create user button. 

Adding users to a tenant.

Adding existing users

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Tenants and select the tenant you wish to add the user to.
  2. From the Administration block go to Tenant > Tenant participants.
  3. Select the Non-member participants button. 
  4. Browse or search to select the existing user(s) from the Potential users column.
  5. With users selected, press the < Add button in-between the two columns. 

Once you are happy all the users to be added are now in the Non-member participants column you can navigate away from the page, as there is no save button. 

After adding users to a tenant you should use the quick-access menu to quickly return to the Tenants screen.

Adding existing users to a tenant.

Alternatively you can add an individual user from their user profile. Follow these steps to assign an individual to a tenant:

  1. Navigate to the user's profile.
  2. In the User details block the Tenant participant section (or Tenant member depending on the user's tenant membership) will indicate whether the user is assigned to a tenant, and if so, which tenant.
  3. Click the cog icon () under Tenant participant Tenant member.
  4. Either select a tenant from the Tenant member dropdown or select one or more tenants using the Tenant participant checkboxes.
  5. Click Save changes.

The User details block will now show the user's updated tenant membership or participation.

The user details block showing a user's tenant membership.

Upload users (Tenant User Manager)

Tenant User Managers and Site Administrators can bulk upload users to a tenant using this method:

  1. Go to Quick-access menu > Tenants and select the tenant you wish to which you want to bulk add users.
  2. From the Administration block go to Tenant > Tenant participants.
  3. Select the Upload users button. 
  4. You can click Download next to CSV file template to download a template file to upload with your user data.
  5. Select a file to upload and configure the settings (as described below).
  6. If needed you can adjust the upload settings (Encoding, Create password if needed and send via email and Force password change).
  7. You can also set a range of User defaults which can be used if information is not provided in the file you upload.
  8. Click Upload users.

If required you can click Preview to see how your uploaded data will look. After uploading your file check the Tenant participants page to see the users you have uploaded.

Upload users (Site Administrator)

Global Site Administrators can upload users to your Totara site in bulk using Upload users, which can be found by navigating to Quick-access menu > Users > Upload users. You can find out more about how to do this on the Upload users page.

When using this function with multiple tenants on your site, you can choose which tenant users are uploaded into using the Tenant dropdown list in the Default values section.

Selecting a tenant to upload users to.

HR import

Site Administrators can use HR import to add or update user information in bulk. When multitenancy is enabled Site Administrators can also add tenant information to the User Source.

FieldDescriptionNotes
Tenant member

This field allows you to specify a tenant ID number for the tenant you want each user to be a member of. Users can only be a member of a single tenant.

If this field is enabled you can specify tenant IDs in the tenantmember field in the Field mappings section.

Users can only be set as members or participants of a tenant, not both.

Tenant participant

This field allows you to add a comma separated list of tenant ID numbers for the tenants you want each user to participate in. Users can participate in multiple tenants if required.

If this field is enabled you can specify all tenant IDs in the tenantparticipant field in the Field mappings section.

Users can only be set as members or participants of a tenant, not both.

Enabling Tenant member and Tenant participant fields.   tenantmember and tenantparticipant fields for entering tenant IDs.

In a single tenant you can have members and participants in one or many roles.

Tenant audiences  

When a tenant is created an audience is created containing all tenant users (both members and participants). If additional users are later added to the tenant they will be automatically added to this audience. Users are also automatically removed from the audience if they are no longer a tenant member or participant.

The default audience is created at the category level, not the system level. If you wish to create sub-groups of tenant members, you can create a dynamic audience at the system level using Tenant Member as a rule.

Note that applications of dynamic audiences with multitenancy could cause issues, as you might accidentally assign visibility of a course from one tenant to users from another tenant, or enrol users in courses from the wrong tenant. If you do decide to set up your own dynamic audiences, be careful when setting rules and assigning learning.

Isolation mode

One additional feature you may want to enable is Tenant isolation. When isolation is not enabled users will be visible across your tenants, making it easier to share content between tenants. This means that site-wide content is visible regardless of the tenant. However when isolation mode is enabled the content and users in each tenant are completely separate from other tenants. For example, when isolation is turned on users in one tenant will only see course catalogue items for their tenant.

You can turn isolation mode on by navigating to Quick-access menu > Development > Experimental > Experimental settings, then check the Enable tenant isolation setting.

Tenant isolation is an experimental setting, meaning it has not been widely tested for all use cases. We recommend you use a test server for testing experimental features before enabling them on your production site.

Please note that when tenant isolation is enabled legacy performance management functionality and learning plans will not be available.

The Enable tenant isolation setting in experimental settings.

Reporting

By default Tenant User Managers and Domain Managers do not have the required permissions to create new user reports. However, global Site Administrators can create and share reports to use for your tenants.

When creating or editing a report you can choose to limit the content of the report based on tenants. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Create a new report or edit an existing one.
  2. Navigate to the Content tab.
  3. To limit the users included in the report to those in the user's tenant, scroll down to the Enforce user visibility restrictions section and enable the Show records based on user visibility rules setting.
  4. To limit the content of the report, scroll down to the Enforce sitewide visibility restrictions section and enable the Show records based on audience, course and workspace visibility restrictions setting.
  5. Configure the other settings as required, then select Save changes.

When this setting is enabled tenant members can only see records for members of their tenant in reports, meaning report data is relevant and report data is not leaked across tenants.

Courses and categories

When you create a new tenant you will also create a new category for that tenant. This is intended to be the location of any courses, programs and certifications created for tenant members. 

You can create, edit and manage categories for a tenant in the same way you would at the system level in Totara.

Please see the courses documentation and categories pages for more information on using these features. 

The tenant administration block showing the category and a sub-category.

If you want a course to be available to users in all tenants on your site you can add it to a system-level category. If required you could create a specific category for this purpose.

Unsupported features

At Totara we are always working to improve our platform and your experience. With that in mind we are currently working on expanding multitenancy support. 

Currently some features across the Totara Talent Experience Platform do not support multitenancy. These features may not interact well with multitenancy instances, or may not allow you to add restrictions as you wish. These features include:

  • HR import: Can be used to add users as members (single tenancy) and participant (one or multiple tenancies). HR Import is still a centralised feature meaning it can't be used by tenant roles.
  • BadgesTenant roles can only manage course badges. System badge management is currently limited to system level roles.
  • MessagingWhen isolation is off there's no hard restriction on users messaging cross-tenancies. With isolation turned on, tenant members only see users from their own tenancy.
  • Job assignmentJob assignments can only be managed by system level roles.
  • Learning plans (requires Totara Learn): Learning plans templates can only be managed by system level roles.
  • Legacy 360 feedback: This feature is outdated and has no multitenancy support 
  • Goals (requires Totara Perform): Tenant members cannot use the goals functionality with strict isolation turned on.
  • OrganisationsOrganisation frameworks are a system level feature meaning they can only be managed centrally by system level roles. There's no way to connect organisations to tenancies.
  • Positions: Position frameworks are a system level feature meaning they can only be managed centrally by system level roles. There's no way to connect positions to tenancies.

Multitenancy use cases

Multiple groups within an organisation

One clear use case for multitenancy is when a single organisation requires separation between groups, where parts of the organisation have completely different learning and administrative requirements but share a site. This would allow for tenants to access content specific to their group as well as organisation-wide content. Learners could still see learners from other tenants (i.e. other parts of their organisation), but administrators and Course Creators could be assigned to individual tenants.

Child organisations of a parent organisation

Multitenancy is also a good solution for organisations with multiple child organisations with different requirements. This could include discrete business units operating under one parent company with different functions and governance, or a franchise structure. A single site could be shared across the organisation, but learning content would comprise a mix of site-wide and tenant-only learning items. Again, administration could be delegated to tenant-specific administrators while global Site Administrators handle site-wide user administration. Here learners can see the details of learners from other tenants within shared courses.

Separate but shared services site

Another possible use case is a single site shared by multiple organisations, each with their own learning environments. Courses and other learning content is created within each separate area by Course Creators and Editing Trainers for the respective organisation. Site Administrators can handle global user administration if required, but administrators can be designated for each tenant to administer users within the tenant.

Individual training provider

Some sites will be managed by a single training provider offering training to multiple separate organisations. This type of site would be a good use of multitenancy, as a single site could be shared while learning catalogue items are strictly divided by tenants. Learners would only be enrolled on courses aimed at their organisation. Additionally, administrators could be assigned on a tenant-by-tenant basis, reducing the workload for global Site Administrators. 

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Multitenancy in TotaraHere you can learn more on how to set up and use tenants, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.





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