Salesforce customers will need a ‘serious reason’ to be in new UK data centre

The European hosting facility is largely be targeted at government business

European Salesforce customers will need a 'serious reason' to be hosted in the cloud giant's new UK-based data centre, which is due to open by 2014.

Customers have been promised a European hosted facility for years and Salesforce finally made the announcement last week at an event in London.

However, Steve Garnett, Salesforce's EMEA chairman, told Computerworld UK that the company would not be offering a service to relocate UK customers that are currently hosted in North America, and that he believes the location of data isn't a concern for the majority of customers.

This is despite the fact that customers such as Philips and Alzheimer's Society UK have expressed their frustrations in the past with the lack of a hosting facility on European soil. Philips has said it will be looking to move its data to the European centre.

Garnett said that Salesforce's security measures are so good that the location of the data should not be a concern for most companies. He said that the UK data centre was largely being driven by the desire to win more public sector business, where some authorities require government data to be hosted on UK soil.

"UK customers will not necessarily end up in the UK data centre. As we have been arguing for some time, most customers just want their data super secure. All of our major customers have said that Salesforce's security is substantially better than anything they could afford themselves," said Garnett.

"Because we are a multi-tenanted architecture, if I add a new security feature for Barclays bank, everybody else gets it anyway, whether they like it or not."

He added: "For the vast majority of commercial customers this is a complete non-issue. That's why Salesforce has been so successful in Europe, despite not having a data centre here in the past."

When asked if new customers are going to be given a choice about which region their data will be hosted in, Garnett responded by saying: "We would ask them why. Why would you need your data in the UK?"

Then, when asked if customers will be hosted in the UK if they specifically request to be, he responded again by saying: "We'd ask them why do you need your data in the UK? Is there a reason for that?"

"We are not going to offer a service that asks customers: do you want to be run in the UK? If they have a reason, a serious reason, we'd probably accommodate it. But it should be a non-issue, so we don't want people just moving around data centres," said Garnett.

It is also worth noting that the UK-based data centre will be backed-up by Salesforce's North American data centre.

"Our existing customer base is pretty happy with the current set-up, apart from a select few which trusted that downstream we were going to do this, but they could live with it for a period of time. In terms of the number of people that have been living with it for a period of time, it's not many. A tiny number," said Garnett.

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