Is Salesforce Set to Relax Proprietary Policies and Embrace OpenStack?
If you take a close look at the Salesforce.com logo seen here, you'll notice the signature "No Software" illustration that the company has relied on for years. With the shape of a cloud in the background, the logo emphasizes the fact that Salesforce has always relied on technology in the cloud, not traditional, on-premise software deployments.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, though, that could change, and the instigator could be the OpenStack cloud computing framework. The article cites Graham Weston, chairman and co-founder of Rackspace Hosting, as saying that Salesfroce will make its services available on servers running OpenStack.
It should be noted that Salesforce has not confirmed the news, but the Journal reports:
"The move to OpenStack will help the company attract more developers to write applications for its services platform by giving them confidence that whatever applications they develop will also work on other cloud platforms. It will also give comfort to businesses concerned that they would be unable to transfer applications and data created with those applications, should they want to switch vendors and sever their relationship with Salesforce.com. Mr. Weston, whose company offers Web hosting services for businesses, said OpenStack 'puts all the power back in the CIO’s hands' because it means they’re free to move their data to any cloud vendor that uses OpenStack."
Put that way, this kind of move from Salesforce would make a lot of sense. The company's traditional "no software" policy, eschewing on-premise software deployments, was fine for the first phase of cloud computing. However, we are moving to new frontiers in the cloud, where hybrid clouds, and various mixes of public and private coud resources are the order of the day. Salesforce needs to relax its two-fisted policies in the cloud, and put CIOs and developers first.
If Salesforce does embrace OpenStack, its own services could instantly be available from various service providers focused on the cloud. And, as Forbes notes:
"There are precedents for enterprise software vendors partnering with cloud providers – SAP in particular has had a number of announcements about its software being available on the cloud offerings of vendors from Amazon Web Services to Virtustream."
Salesforce has had a remarkable run relying primarily on proprietary, closed offerings, but it would be very shrewd for the company to embrace a fast-growing open source cloud platform like OpenStack. CIOs everywhere are saying that they don't want lock-in in the cloud, and that alone is helping to drive OpenStack's success.
In all likelihood, Salesforce will confirm this news soon, and although it may ruffle the feathers of some longtime customers, it's the right move for the company to make.