Skip to content
Ruby Gem for managing multi-tenant applications
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



Multitenancy for Rails 3

Apartment provides tools to help you deal with multiple databases in your Rails environment. If you need to have certain data sequestered based on account or company, but still allow some data to exist in a common database, Apartment can help.


Apartment was built to deal with a very particular use-case - the need to spin up multiple databases within the same application instance on-demand while Rails is running. If your setup can accomodate creating new databases on deploy (by adding a new database to your database.yml), or doesn't need 100% database isolation, other solutions might be far simpler for your use case.


Rails 3

Add the following to your Gemfile:

  gem 'apartment'

That's all you need to set up the Apartment libraries. If you want to switch databases on a per-user basis, look under "Usage - Switching databases per request", below.


Creating new Databases

Before you can switch to a new apartment database, you will need to create it. Whenever you need to create a new database, you can run the following command:


Apartment will create a new database in the following format: "environment_database_name". In the case of a sqlite database, this will be created in your 'db/migrate' foler. With other databases, the database will be created as a new DB within the system.

When you create a new database, all migrations will be run against that database, so it will be up to date when create returns.

Notes on PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL works slightly differently than other databases when creating a new DB. If you are using PostgreSQL, Apartment will set up a new schema and migrate into there. This provides better performance, and allows Apartment to work on systems like Heroku, which would not allow a full new database to be created.

Switching Databases

To switch databases using Apartment, use the following command:


When switch is called, all requests coming to ActiveRecord will be routed to the database you specify (with the exception of excluded models, see below). To return to the 'root' database, call switch with no arguments.

Switching Databases per request

You can have Apartment route to the appropriate database per request by adding a warden task in application.rb. For instance, if you want to route to a particular database depending on user, and you have a database attribute on your user model, you could do the following:

 Warden::Manager.on_request do |proxy|
    if session[:user_id]
      u = User.find(session[:user_id])

Excluding models

If you have some models that should always access the 'root' database, you can specify this in a configuration file. Apartment will look for a config file called 'apartment.yml' in the /config directory of your Rails application. To exclude certain models, do the following:

excluded_models: [User, Company] 

Managing Migrations

Currently, you will need to migrate each database individually. I'll be working on code to migrate all known databases soon. You can migrate any database up to the current version by calling:



  • Migration support
  • Other rake task support
  • Cross-database associations


Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.