Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, April 16, 2021

Salesforce Shifts Core Services to AWS 

Salesforce, the customer relationship management leader, said it would expand its use of Amazon Web Services to deliver core cloud services as it extends its global infrastructure.

The partners announced on Wednesday (May 25) that Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) has designated AWS ((NASDAQ:AMZN) as its "preferred public cloud infrastructure provider," a move analysts noted is unusual for a company with multiple cloud partners. Salesforce said it would expand its use of AWS to core services that include its Analytics Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud and Sales Cloud.

Other Salesforce services such as its Heroku platform-as-a-service and its recently announced IoT Cloud already run on AWS infrastructure. The partners said the shift to AWS would help speed deployment of new Salesforce infrastructure while at the same time helping it comply with data sovereignty rules.

The move follows a Salesforce cloud outage in mid-May lasting nearly two hours that prevented some Salesforce customers from accessing the company services. The outage was traced to power failure at a Washington, DC-area datacenter.

Along with its Heroku PaaS offering and the Internet of Things cloud, Salesforce also runs its Marketing Cloud Social Studio and a sales prioritization tool called SalesforceIQ on AWS infrastructure. The deal announced this week effectively shifts most of the vendor's key services to the market leading public cloud service as Salesforce proceeds with a planned international infrastructure expansion.

The Salesforce partnership with AWS goes back several years, with services like the Heroku software development platform running on the AWS cloud since Salesforce acquired the the technology. Analysts noted that the core Salesforce CRM platform runs on an internal stack in its own datacenter using Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) databases. Salesforce said it would use AWS to bring new infrastructure online more quickly while continuing to invest in its own datacenters.

Along with internal datacenter investments, Salesforce noted in a blog post that it would "also utilize AWS in select international markets to help bring new infrastructure online as part of its broader datacenter strategy."

The company added that it would utilize AWS in "select international markets," adding that it would disclose details later this year about specific locations and the timing of rollouts. Global expansion also entails meeting strict data sovereignty rules requiring that customer data be maintained in the country of origin.

Analysts noted that it is unusual for a large vendor like Salesforce to identify one of multiple cloud partners as a "preferred" service provider. That indicates a "serious commitment," noted Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at market watcher IDC. "A commitment of this scale may well involve a gradual shift for Salesforce to diversify the stack of its core business, but this is likely to take a long time," Hilwa said.

According to reports, Salesforce is expected to spend as much as $400 million over the next several years on AWS cloud services.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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