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Snowden Effect? Salesforce.com to add another European data center

Salesforce.com plans to add a new data center  in France, working with service provider Interxion.

The facility is one of three new data centers the company is adding in Europe to support local customers and, the company said, it will be completely powered with (unspecified) renewable energy.

In May, the SaaS kingpin said it was working with NTT Europe on a new U.K.-based data center to open later this year. That would be its sixth data center overall. At that time [company]Salesforce.com [/company]CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff said Europe was the company’s fastest growing region for fiscal 2013.  A third data center will open in Germany later this year.

None of the public statements about all this new capacity mentioned growing demand from European countries that data centers serving their citizens be local. Part of that is due to worries over latency but much of the sentiment has been growing since Edward Snowden’s disclosures about NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ data snooping.

The feeling, which may not be quite rational, is that snooping is harder if local data resides locally, not in the U.S. Data should be safer from official inspection by the U.S. authorities if it is not stored there, but a U.S.-owned company may still be liable to turn that data over when requested, no matter where it is stored. Additionally, the NSA has many international spy agency partners that snoop locally and pass information to it.

The company now has five data centers in the U.S. and Toyko, a spokeswoman said. “We also  announced we’ll be opening a new data center in Canada and three European data centers, located in the U.K., France, and Germany. The data center in the U.K. will open this fall, with France and Germany to follow in 2015.”

Clearly the race is on by cloud players — including Saas and IaaS companies — to add to their geographic reach.

Public cloud leader [company]Amazon Web Services[/company], for example, runs all of Europe out of its Dublin facilities but has indicated that a German data center is in the cards — an AWS Re:Invent announcement perhaps? Germany and Switzerland have arguably the strictest data sovereignty laws on the books.

Cloud vendors now know that to operate at true scale, they have to run everywhere, said IDC software analyst  Al Hilwa, via email.

And, he noted, that any hope cloud vendors might have entertained about keeping “minimal geographic presence is vanishing as the post-Snowdon effect suggests that cloud presence might have to be won country by country. Only players with enormous scale are going to be able to invest in this way to establish global synergies.”

Those words reiterate what  [company]Battery Ventures[/company] Technical Fellow Adrian Cockcroft noted at Structure 2014 in June when he stressed that location really, really matters for cloud providers going forward. Cockcroft  predicted huge data center expansion especially in the U.K., France and Germany. Looks like that prediction was on the money.

Check out Cockcroft’s talk below.

 

Note: This story was updated at 8:50 a.m. PDT with more detail from Salesforce.com about its current data center count.

6 Responses to “Snowden Effect? Salesforce.com to add another European data center”

  1. Matthew Mikell

    None of identifies how Salesforce.com overcomes the US Justice Dept reach and the potential for a subpoena. Unless there is some unique ownership split of the physical location vs servers? Any US company, such as Salesforce.com, that has a employee on-site or ownership on servers will likely have to comply no matter the physical data center jurisdiction. Unfortunately, country-by-country approach introduces local (duplicate) facilities, staff, regulations and throws off the economics of cloud and SaaS.

    • as the story states: The feeling, which may not be quite rational, is that snooping is harder if local data resides locally, not in the U.S. Data should be safer from official inspection by the U.S. authorities if it is not stored there, but a U.S.-owned company may still be liable to turn that data over when requested, no matter where it is stored.

  2. asharbaig

    More than half a dozen countries have recently passed stringent data residency mandates that their citizen’s data cannot be outside their country boundaries. The most recent country was Russia. This changes the game for large cloud providers who, in the past, have relied on availability zones. This also makes the local cloud providers more attractive.