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Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and now Microsoft Azure – Why does Salesforce want to run its software on all of them?

by Olive Huang  |  November 15, 2019  |  6 Comments

Today Salesforce named Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for marketing cloud. Microsoft counts the fourth IaaS platform on which Salesforce wants to run its software. The Salesforce relationships with Amazon AWS and Google Cloud were dated back to 2016 and 2017 respectively. The last partnership with Alibaba Cloud was sealed in July this year.

These four cloud IaaS vendors count for 4 out of 6 players in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, worldwide. It is a highly matured market only 6 vendors left but there is no shortage of growth. Gartner projects revenue in the cloud IaaS market to increase to $81.5 billion by 2022, up from $41.4 billion in 2019. But most of the enterprise interest and revenue are currently directed toward two providers: AWS and Microsoft. The market views both AWS and Microsoft as being general-purpose providers capable of supporting a broad range of workloads. Google is making steady progress in terms of enterprise adoption and Alibaba dominates the market for cloud IaaS in China.

Gartner 2019 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide

Gartner 2019 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide

The one obvious benefit that Salesforce chose to work with all four cloud IaaS market leaders is to speed up its geographical expansion. Salesforce’s instances for Canada and Australia both run on Amazon AWS and its China instance will run on Alibaba cloud.

But that’s not the only reason. The other driver that I see is while large enterprises are moving their applications and analytics workload to cloud IaaS, which include cross-domain core customer processes, consumer facing apps and customer analytics, they expect their SaaS CRM vendor to be able to meet them on the same cloud. Here is an example. You can read the reports on Salesforce and AWS implementation from National Australian Bank.

The third reason, which is for the short term benefiting Salesforce but for the long term benefiting Salesforce’s customers and partners, is Salesforce is spending significant engineering and change management effort with its own operational team, in order to move and run its software and lightning platform on the four leading cloud IaaS. This is a significant undertaking for a large software vendor. Over time it could bring improved availability and capacity planning, cloud elasticity, inter-operability of data and processes, and multi-experience support to its customers and partners.

The last reason – Salesforce’s partnership with these players are not only limited to public cloud hosting. The relationship extends to other product groups such productivity suits, analytics, AI as well as joint go-to-market efforts. I am a believer that the future of SaaS is in the hands of those who can build and run an ecosystem well, an ecosystem that their clients can leverage to drive their own digital transformation. This trend will force many technology players to work together, instead of against each other and Salesforce is just doing that.

My last line of this blog goes to the firefighters and farmers in NSW who are fighting the worst bush fire and drought in the history. The closest fire is 30 KM from my farm. The wind is blowing the fire away from us but then fire will threaten other’s home, farm and bushland. I wish all the people and animals safe.

Dangerous Bush Fire Situation in NSW, Australia

Dangerous Bush Fire Situation in NSW, Australia


Additional Resources

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Category: crm-software-industry  crm-strategy-and-customer-experience  crm-strategy-and-customer-experience-for-technical-professionals  customer-experience  customer-service  digital-commerce-technologies  

Tags: crm  iaas  saas  salesforce  software  

Olive Huang
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Olive Huang is a Research Director in Gartner Research and is part of the company's CRM software research team. Her research area focuses on customer services and support, contact centers, CRM vendors and service providers, and CRM strategy and best practices in the Asia/Pacific region. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and now Microsoft Azure – Why does Salesforce want to run its software on all of them?

  1. Rama says:

    This is a very interesting read! I was wondering why they were diversifying cloud providers considering they recieve similar underlaying services, your blog has some solid points

  2. Yashvinder Singh says:

    It’s “Lightning” not lightening. Suggest you to google what lightening means, before publishing.

  3. Jeremy Thompson says:

    I think this article should have addressed multicloud, ELB from one provider to another, are Salesforce looking for that holy grail? Is that what engineering efforts they’re doing themselves or are they hedging their bets on 4 (when that’s twice the work required or one too many)?

  4. Hasan says:

    Its time to forget all those three cloud providers and more to Heroku, just see: and think.

  5. Marilu Castleberry says:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article. But, I don’t know where are they intent to go with this affiliation. Because, as you mentioned they are already in partnership with AWS, GCE, Alibaba. Which are some of the very big names in the hosting industry.
    I mean they all provide cloud hosting and are very similar in their operation. So, what are they bringing new to the table.
    I can’t imaging what are they going to do next may be go for the managed cloud servers of the above mentioned hosts.

    I am a bit confused with their approach.

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