Salesforce Finally Pens UK Data Centre Deal

Salesforce has confirmed a deal has been signed to build a UK data centre here in England, almost three years after it promised to deliver one.

The data centre will be based in Slough, Salesforce’s chairman for Europe Steve Garnett (pictured) told TechWeekEurope this morning. A contract has been signed with NTT Europe, a subsidiary of Tier 1 networking provider NTT Communications, and the facility, Salesforce’s sixth global data centre, should be active in 2014.

Salesforce had pledged a data centre would be in development in 2012, but it has taken its time to choose an adequate partner and a suitable location, drawing criticism from some customers in the UK. Garnett had previously told TechWeek it was only government who was really worried about data centre location, and only then those with  IL3 [Impact Level Three] data and above.

Salesforce courts government

Having a UK data centre will make it considerably easier for Salesforce to sell to UK government, now it can store highly sensitive data within England, as public sector bodies demand.

Some organisations also have concerns around the Patriot Act in the US, which would allow American law enforcement to look through data in cloud facilities where they believe illegal activity is going on.

“It’ll be live hopefully early next year,” Garnett said. “Europe is growing at 38 percent so this is hot for us.

“Europe is one of our best performing regions and this is reinforcing our investment in Europe. It also helps some of the compliance and regulatory issues with government.

“It will allow us to move up the impact levels of what we can do with government. We’ve had great support from senior members of government, like Francis Maude [minister for the Cabinet Office]… who understand the benefits.

“We could have chosen anywhere in Europe but we chose the UK.”

Salesforce runs a Government Cloud service in the US, but Garnett would not say whether that would appear in the UK.

The British government itself welcomed the decision too. “This significant development further endorses the UK as one of the world’s greatest technology centres,” said a statement. “The UK is in a strong position to support fast-growing international companies such as in delivering innovative social, mobile and cloud services to customers here and globally.”

Salesforce is on the government’s G-Cloud framework, and Garnett said deals were being done now to boost its presence across government. “We are doing business over it right now… we have got a lot of government prospects and we’re very excited about what’s happening with the G-Cloud,” Garnett added, claiming smaller providers doing well from the G-Cloud would struggle to compete against Salesforce given its global footprint.

“We can now hit 50 percent of the UK economy.”

Garnett couldn’t divulge how much the data centre cost, but said it was in the tens of millions of dollars.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

View Comments

  • Customer feel more comfortable having their data held in the UK and under UK jurisdiction, however many still raise questions around USA firms being the parent to the hosting and how this may affect data sovereignty. Microsoft's UK MD famously and publicly stated in 2012 that 'the software giant could not guarantee that European citizen data stored in EU-based data centers would not leave the European Union under any circumstances, including under a Patriot Act request' raising concern among many and promoting use of where possible a UK provider with UK data stores.

    Also to be noted is that another interview wielded that Steve Garnett, Salesforce's EMEA chairman said 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. So 'new customers only!l.

    Ian Moyse

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