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Will the Salesforce Superpod Change the Cloud?

Will the Salesforce Superpod Change the Cloud?
By Jennifer LeClaire

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At its Dreamforce conference, Salesforce unveiled its mobile platform, Salesforce1. It also announced a partnership with HP to create the Salesforce Superpod, a single instance, managed hosted rendition of its software inside its own data center. Salesforce can now offer a multichannel software delivery mechanism for on-premises, cloud, and hybrids.
 


Salesforce made a huge splash yesterday with the unveiling of its new mobile platform Salesforce1, but that’s hardly the only big news to come out of Dreamforce this week. The CRM company has also inked a strategic cloud computing partnership that could pay dividends in the years ahead.

Salesforce.com and HP plan to create the new Salesforce Superpod, a dedicated instance in the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud, running on HP’s Converged Infrastructure. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com, called the partnership a breakthrough in cloud computing.

“The Salesforce Superpod will allow individual customers to have a dedicated instance in the Salesforce multi-tenant cloud, powered by HP’s technology and fully managed within Salesforce.com’s world-class data centers,” Benioff said.

HP’s Big Win

The companies plan to jointly develop and market the Salesforce Superpod to the world’s largest enterprises. HP intends to be the first customer to be deployed on a Salesforce Superpod. The Salesforce Superpod will be available for an additional fee to Salesforce.com's largest customers.

Meg Whitman, president and CEO at HP, said trends like cloud, mobility and big data are creating a “new style of IT” and transforming what enterprise customers expect and need from technology.

“I’m excited to have HP and Salesforce.com work together to help customers tackle these exciting challenges,” said Whitman. “By jointly developing and using each other’s technology, the Salesforce Superpod will deliver the highest standard in performance, reliability and management.”

What Does This Mean for Salesforce?

We asked Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, who is at Dreamforce, for his take on the partnership. He told us he doesn’t think the deal puts Salesforce in the hardware business -- at least not yet.

“It’s an advantageous partnership that probably makes it more affordable and better business for Salesforce to do something it’s been wanting to do for a long time -- provide single instance, managed hosted renditions of its software inside its own data center,” Shimmin said. “In a way it’s kind of ironic given Marc Benioff's earlier doctrine that everything needs to be multi-tenant and everyone will succeed in the shared public cloud.”

In a way, Shimmin said, this deal is another step in Salesforce’s maturation. With the HP alliance, the company can now do something most major vendors strive to do -- provide a true multichannel software delivery mechanism that supports on-premises, cloud and some hybrid thereof.

“Will this mean that Salesforce will eventually go completely the opposite direction and offer on-premises software? Will there ever be an HP-Salesforce branded engineered system like Oracle’s Exadata systems that you would buy as an enterprise and put in your own closet?” Shimmin asked.

“I don’t know. The door is open for that, I suspect, but for right now I don’t think that would be the best thing for Salesforce to do. I think what they are doing right now is perfect because it will allow them to better scale to meet customer demands," he added.
 

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