Salesforce parks its planned IoT cloud on... shocker! AWS

CRM floater breaks with precedent, jumps aboard bandwagon

In a major break from the past, Salesforce is turning to an outside supplier to run a portion of its cloud.

The CRM-as-a-service provider has asked Amazon’s Web Services to deliver the plumbing for its latest planned service – an Internet of Things Cloud.

Announced in September 2015 and due by the end of this year, Salesforce’s Internet of Things Cloud is intended to help organisations capture and process data from mobile, wearable and embedded devices and from sensors.

Technology details were thin at the time but Internet of Things Cloud was to be powered by a “massively scalable, real-time event processing engine named Thunder. It seems Thunder will run on AWS rather than Salesforce’s native Force platform, which is the foundation of every other Salesforce service.

The Force platform is built on Dell servers and uses a multi-tenant Oracle database running in Salesforce’s own data centres around the globe.

The only time Salesforce has gone outside the wall was in 2010 when it bought cloud-start up Heroku for $212m in cash. Its wares ran on AWS. Heroku’s skill, and its success, came in putting a user-friendly platform on top of the raw AWS infrastructure metal.

The Internet of Things Cloud on AWS development was reported by the Wall Street Journal. Adam Bosworth, the Salesforce executive vice president building Thunder and IoT cloud, seems to have justified the decision to go with Amazon to the WSJ in terms of the growth it expects in things data and the proven elasticity of the AWS infrastructure.

Bosworth told the WSJ that AWS’s “flexibility” made it a good choice to handle the “uncontrolled exponential growth” to handle the kind of growth in IoT traffic Salesforce expects.

“We did it because we were growing very fast,” he said. “These are big and so you’re using a lot of resources. We had to have the safety valve of a public cloud or public clouds to do what we were doing,” he added.

A Salesforce spokesperson told The Register: “We have an existing partnership with Amazon and our Heroku service runs on AWS.”

One reason AWS has grown is the elastic nature of its compute and storage services – the ability for customers to rapidly spin up (and down) services at relatively low cost. Also, they get access to new services and features at a pace they themselves couldn’t deliver. That has translated into revenues, at the last count, of $2.5bn.

Among AWS’s biggest customers is Netflix.

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