Is Salesforce, which does all its business in the cloud, in the process of moving all of its own core business processes to that same public cloud?
It's too early to tell at this point, because the world's largest and most successful sales and marketing cloud services provider still uses its own servers and storage in data centers for most of all that big data processing.
But the company's new reported four-year, $400 million deal, announced May 25—which offloads a big chunk of its international workloads to Amazon Web Services—could be a harbinger of things to come.
Salesforce has been running its Heroku development platform as a service (PaaS) on AWS for several years, although it wasn't widely known until recently. The new sales deal with AWS is evidence that Salesforce is tightening its ties with Amazon and an indicator that more deals like it might be in the offing.
Several Core Services Leaving the Salesforce Data Center
Salesforce will use AWS for core services that include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud and Analytics Cloud as part of the company's planned international infrastructure expansion, according to Salesforce.
AWS is a hot property, no question. The Seattle-based company has won another round in the fight for big data business against Oracle Cloud, IBM SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, HPE, EMC Virtustream, Dell and a list of competitors. Amazon won most of Netflix's substantial business last winter.
"We are excited to expand our strategic relationship with Amazon as our preferred public cloud infrastructure provider," Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement to the press.
AWS has been providing cloud storage and computing services since 2006 and has been the world's leader in the market since then. According to the Synergy Research Group, AWS owned 31 percent of the cloud market in 2015, compared with 9 percent for Microsoft, 7 percent for IBM, 4 percent for Google and 4 percent for Salesforce.
Unusual to Identify a Vendor as Preferential
"I think this is an interesting move in terms of alignments because it is not common to have a vendor identify one of multiple partners as preferential without some serious commitment," Al Hilwa, program director of software development research at IDC, told eWEEK. "We have to keep in mind that the Salesforce Heroku PaaS has always run on AWS, and so the partnership between the two companies goes a long way back.
"Salesforce's core CRM product runs on an internal stack in its own data centers using Oracle databases. Salesforce has acquired other technologies which use AWS, most notably the public platform-as-a-service called Heroku.
"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.