Dreamforce '13: Salesforce.com downplays potential conflicts of HP, Oracle deals

On balancing HP and Oracle as infrastructure partners, Salesforce's co-founder quipped, "It's not just an Internet of Customers but Internet of Partners."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO---Already one of the biggest pieces of news to emerge from Dreamforce this week is Salesforce.com's newly inked deal with Hewlett-Packard.

Announced on Monday, the Salesforce Superpod is a dedicated instance in the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud, which will run on HP's Converged Infrastructure for enterprise data centers.

Both companies are being tasked with peddling Superpod to enterprise corporations, and it will be sold for an additional fee to existing Salesforce customers. HP will be the first Salesforce customer to be deployed on Superpod.

However, this new infrastructure deal immediately had heads scratching at the annual expo.

Given that it was the IT news (and surprise) of the summer, there has been nary a peep about that other highly-touted hardware and infrastructure partnership with Oracle.

The sometimes-rivals revealed a new-found friendship back in June through the signing of a nine-year agreement to integrate their clouds, encompassing all three tiers of cloud computing: applications, platform and infrastructure.

Th CRM giant will be standardizing on Oracle's Linux operating system, Exadata engineered systems, the Oracle Database and Java Middleware Platform.

Salesforce.com co-founder Parker Harris dismissed hints about conflicted interests during a press conference on Tuesday, explaining some of the rationale behind the deal.

In tune with the theme of Dreamforce 2013, Harris pinned the motivation on its customer base.

"We wanted to give our customers a choice," Harris responded simply. He briefly reiterated that Salesforce.com is moving some software to Oracle's Exadata databases while balancing "engineering" Superpod with HP.

In regards to human capital management (HCM) and other software partners, Harris defended that Salesforce is "very open." 

"We're not saying were only going to exclusively partner with Workday or Oracle. It's not us choosing -- it's our customers," he continued.

Harris quipped, "It's not just an Internet of Customers but an Internet of Partners."

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