Salesforce.com readies UK datacentre, aims for government contracts

Software as a service giant Salesforce.com is building a UK datacentre to meet growing demand in Europe
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Salesforce.com has broken ground on its first European datacentre, which the software-as-a-service giant says is designed to meet growing European demand and satisfy the data-residency rules of the potentially lucrative UK government sector.

The new datacentre, which is located in the UK at Slough, Berkshire, is due to be completed in 2014 and will offer the full range of Salesforce products. It is being built by NTT Communications.

In the 2013 financial year, Europe has been Salesforce's fastest expanding region with 38 percent year-on-year growth.

"We're getting fantastic European growth but we don't do a lot of business in the government sector. Some of that is to do with safe-harbour agreements and data residency, and we can do a certain amount of business with some authorities, but for certain levels of security of data we just haven't been able to do business with them," said Salesforce EMEA chairman Steve Garnett.

"[The Slough datacentre] is not necessary for our commercial customers - some may prefer to be there, and we'll look at that - it's really around federal," he said.

He said the government sector represented about 50 percent of the UK economy and about 45 percent in the wider European Union.

The full functionality of the Force.com platform will be available at the new datacentre, according to Salesforce. Other components of the platform run on AWS specifically, but recently support for them was announced for the European region.

Salesforce already has five datacentres: three in the US, one in Singapore and one in Japan.

"It will be of the same magnitude, same size, same capabilities as we have elsewhere. They are expensive pieces to put in place and of course we're offering four nines availability, 300 milliseconds response times so we have to get it right and because we have a consistent service model around the world," Garnett said.

The Slough datacentre will be powered by 100 percent renewable rather than offset energy, according to Damian Skendrovic, VP of cloud services for NTT Europe. He said NTT is building a new datacentre mini-campus at Slough on which the dedicated building for Salesforce is located.

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