back to article Salesforce's data centre team 'fought' AWS cloud outsourcing

Salesforce’s cloud server staff, those behind its flagship SaaS cloud, fought tooth and nail against their employer’s embrace of Amazon’s cloud. Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s chief executive puffed last week he had a “great meeting of minds” with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on embracing AWS. Salesforce has chosen AWS to power its core …

  1. Martin hepworth

    They fought the cloud..

    So a case of..

    They fought the cloud and the cloud won

    sorry couldnt resist

  2. m0rt

    "He who controls the spice controls the universe."

  3. ChrisElvidge

    Bureau Computing

    Are we going back in time?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bureau Computing

      > Are we going back in time?

      Bureaus ran pretty reliable services, including managed backups and off-site DR, and IT managers slept well in those days.

      Amazon could lose this market in a whisper if they don't continue to deliver first-class reliability.

      So buying into AWS means you buy into an excellent engineering team, economies of scale that even someone like Salesforce can't match for themselves, and a company which is *highly* motivated to maintain those standards.

      They are not spotless, but they don't seem to have had as many high-profile outages as, say, Microsoft O365.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Bureau Computing

        They are not spotless, but they don't seem to have had as many high-profile outages as, say, Microsoft O365.

        Timely comment as Oz AWS had a moment today.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Stevie

      Re: Bureau Computing

      Back in time?

      Rather NOT discarding an idea just because it was used forty years ago. Turns out there's a baby in that bathwater.

  4. DonL

    The cloud is great at marketing, I give them that.

    First the cloud company Salesforce has a huge outage. Then they lose hours of data. Then they decide they're incompetent and announce a move to the cloud. Then they raise prices with 40%:

    And then after all this with absolutely no results to show for at all, this article praises them and the cloud because they have all the wisdom?

    I hope Amazon paid the register well for this shameless advertisement.

    1. m0rt

      I didn't read the article as 1, and advertisment and 2, praising AWS.

      It read more like a sufficient analysis of what the Salesforce change in direction signifies.

      I still hate the term 'cloud' for what is nothing really more than a level of abstraction between hardware and OS, but I think you appraisal is a little off base.

  5. zanshin

    "Despite all evidence to the contrary, private cloud pundits keep telling us that data governance and application performance will keep workloads firmly entrenched in private data centres, or will capitulate to public cloud with a hybrid model. Of course, Salesforce’s decision to build on AWS calls into question these cosy platitudes"

    I think you have to be a little careful here. Salesforce is, itself, a cloud service provider, already committed to the paradigm of doing everything in the cloud almost by definition. Their customers are companies who have already conquered the various barriers to 3rd-party cloud service adoption. It probably matters little to those customers if their data is in Salesforce's own data centers, or some other ?aaS provider's, except as a secondary concern about how reliable and secure it makes Salesforce's own services.

    It seems to me that an enterprise that's a potential direct AWS/Azure consumer can have barriers to cloud adoption that Salesforce probably did not. If you're a financial services company, how does cloud adoption fit with the Safe Harbor mess? Is your data highly confidential or even top secret? Do your local internet access provide bandwidth suitable to the scale of data you need to push to the cloud (or pull back) daily?

    These are edge cases, perhaps, and edge cases may not be something a sound business model can stand on, but there are also probably better examples I'm not thinking of.

    Salesforce's decision is big, but I'm not sure it means exactly what I read the quote above as suggesting it means. "If Salesforce can do it, anyone can" doesn't quite seem the right conclusion to me, because if we assume there are any cases to make for doing some things in-house, I'm not sure any of them would have applied to Salesforce to start with. For them, the decision may have been a no-brainer in ways it wouldn't be for everyone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cloud...

    Other peoples computers you have no control over.

  7. BurnT'offering

    There is no way we are going to trust our electricity supply to a public grid

    Keep stoking that steam engine, serfs

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is no way we are going to trust our electricity supply to a public grid

      but we still have our own private supplies when the public grid goes belly up.

    2. Rainer

      Re: There is no way we are going to trust our electricity supply to a public grid

      Yeah. UPSs and Diesel generators are a 19th century thing, too.

  8. Marc 18

    So where does this fit then?

    So where does this fit then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So where does this fit then?

      At a guess, there may be regulatory requirements that need data stored onshore.

      I work for a large multinational company, we went to MS for Sharepoint via o365 as well as a pile of email and Skype stuff, BUT it became apparent that regulatory stuff meant we ended up with a hybrid of our own DC's and cloud. Until the Safe Harbor and MS case over access to stuff in Dublin is sorted we're in a weird no-mans land of where the hell is our data and what can be stored where.

      The guidance from legal and security has changed several times (x servers are in our premises, offsite will have a disclaimer shown - err no we can't stop leakage so no more confidential data in Sharepoint as it ends up on cloud).

      We even have the same arguments over the call logging system, ServiceNow, as it took someone 6 months to get legal to notice all that data was leaving our company and being stored on servers 'somewhere else'.

      Right now it's trying to bolt the door a couple of years after the data ended up spewed all over other peoples systems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So where does this fit then?

        Right into the business model of any number of top tier providers using OpenStack to integrate enterprise customer private data centers with their "cloud" infrastructures. OpenStack started out as a kind of DIY AWS, but it's growing. The key to success, which Amazon saw early on, is to monetize unused capacity (which Amazon had to maintain for its markets). Microsoft might have a similar model: needing a massive infrastructure to run O365 but using Azure to maximize profit on the excess cap. Salesforce and others who only support their own product can't reach the economies of scale available to Amazon or MS, or even Rackspace.

  9. Bob Dole (tm)

    cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud...

    So the SalesForce "cloud" is going to run on Amazon's "cloud".

    Does anyone else feel like they are in a Troika doll? Maybe it would behoove the industry to come up with new names to differentiate the levels of hell that this is becoming.

    1. John 104

      Re: cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud...

      Seems to me that if you are paying SF to host your stuff in their cloud and pay their markup, and they are paying Amazon to host their cloud services... Perhaps just skipping the middle man would be in order?

      1. Dadmin

        Re: cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud...

        "Hey, Amazon's basket is SO BIG, it won't ever fall down! Let's place all our eggs in there! We won't have any responsibility after we offload the responsibility! Let's play golf!" -- The Big Thunkers

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud...

      > Maybe it would behoove the industry to come up with new names to differentiate the levels of hell that this is becoming.

      Err, we already have those names.

      SaaS => e.g. Salesforce, Github, Slack

      PaaS => e.g. Heroku, Google App Engine

      IaaS => e.g. Amazon EC2, GCE, Azure

      MaaS => old-school server rental and/or colo

      Each level is potentially a customer of the level below.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Salesforce backend infrastructure.

    I'd be interested in knowing the technical details of how the Salesforce backend infrastructure runs. Second question, how does this decision impact Salesforces' commercial worth now that they've moved to AWS.

    IaaS/PaaS == Infrastructure as a Service/Platform as a Service

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